Festival of Architecture ‘report card’ hails event a huge success

Pop-Up Cities Expo. Image credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography

THE Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has published its final ‘report card’ from the Festival of Architecture 2016, which revealed the year-long event provided an £8.8 million boost for Scotland’s economy.

Based on figures provided by data collection organisation, Culture Republic, the report also confirmed the festival generated over 460 events and had over 1.5 million participants and visitors.

In the report’s foreword, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said, “The celebration of our nation’s architecture is an important part of government’s responsibility for the promotion of Scotland’s culture. We were delighted to support the programme developed by The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), along with a very wide range of partner organisations, which contributed to making the Festival a huge success throughout the RIAS centenary year. The Festival of Architecture 2016 achieved all of its goals and surpassed many.”

David Dunbar PPRIAS, chair, Festival of Architecture 2016 added, “The Festival of Architecture 2016 was Scotland’s largest ever single artform event. Year-long and Scotland-wide, it welcomed over 1.575million visitors, reaching parts no previous Festival has reached. Islands and remote communities held mini-festivals and small towns welcomed visiting exhibitions. 126 partner organisations, including the Children’s Parliament, the National Galleries and National Museums of Scotland, generated over 460 public-facing events.”

Stewart Henderson, RIAS President commented, “All those involved with last year’s festival knew we were onto something special. The public appetite for the art of architecture, communicated well, in lively and engaging performance, shows and exhibitions, is huge. On the back of last year’s success I am thrilled that the Incorporation’s ruling Council has voted to continue with a major architectural festival in September every year from now on. 2017 will be the first of those and the programme is already looking lively – and fun!”

Neil Baxter, the Incorporation’s chief executive (secretary and treasurer) who, in his job interview in 2007, first proposed marking 2016, the RIAS’ centenary, with a Festival of Architecture said, “This event was a long time in the making. It involved 126 partner organisations and the enthusiasm and talents of literally hundreds of volunteers and participants. This ‘umbrella’ style of festival has been used many, many times before – but never on the scale of a whole nation. Thank goodness it worked!”

The 2017 Festival will feature a reprise of the exhibition Adventures in Space and a major publication and touring exhibition on housing and house design in Scotland 2000 – 2020. It starts on Friday 1st September 2017.