AN international exhibition that wowed audiences in Venice is being given its Scottish premiere in Oban.

The Prospect North exhibition – produced for the Venice architecture Biennale 2016 – tells stories of 15 Scottish communities with the help of cutting-edge technology created by a Glasgow-based firm.

The exhibition explores Scotland’s community-based initiatives where design and architecture have made a difference to a wide range of places. It also looks at Scotland’s relation to its northern neighbours through narratives, portraits and evocative imagery, and highlights Scotland’s place and identity within an economically emerging northern region.

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Designed by Lateral North, the exhibition features a topographical map of Scotland – made up of three kilometres of wooden stakes and 1,200 plywood tiles and put together with more than 7,000 screws. This allowed audiences in Venice to be transported to Scotland through Augmented Reality videos and maps created by Glasgow company Soluis.

“It’s a really exciting exhibition,” said Tom Smith of Lateral North. “We are delighted with the outcome and feedback we got in Venice and we think it does not just appeal to architects. It really engages with audiences because it allows people to participate in it.”

WHAT IS HIGHLIGHTED?

PROSPECT North is an immersive exhibition looking at the relationship between people, culture, places, industries and economies around the country. It shows the ways in which “peripheral” communities, ranging from the Northern Isles of Orkney to the industrial heartland of the Central Belt of Scotland are being given new life through grassroots actions.

The unique situations and background of the 15 projects are revealed through their stories from the past, present and plans for the future.

“Our exhibition showcases amazing community and design collaborations from social housing in Lerwick to a community boathouse in Tiree and Glasgow Women’s Library, which has been of extreme value to its community,” said Smith.

“We are trying to show people that Scotland is not necessarily a nation of whisky, shortbread and kilts. It is a place where communities are working with designers on what we think are meaningful projects.”

The exhibition was created by Lateral North, Dualchas Architects and Soluis, co-curated by Architecture and Design Scotland and commissioned by the Scotland + Venice partnership – the Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland and the British Council Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Lateral North and Dualchas are adopting a truly innovative and illuminating approach to how architecture can be the heart of improving outcomes for communities in Scotland.”

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

IN conjunction with the Prospect North exhibition, Oban’s Rockfield Centre will also host two national touring exhibitions: Scotstyle and Best of the Best.

Scotstyle asks the public to vote for their favourite building from the past 100 years as part of the Festival of Architecture 2016 and Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The results will be announced at the Festival’s Finale event in November and voting will take place on the festival website foa2016.com/scotstyle.

Votes can also be cast in person at the touring exhibition.

The Best of the Best highlights the past five years of award-winning buildings, places and communities as recognised by eight national organisations, including work by students, communities, designers and architects from across Scotland.

The Best of the Best and Scotstyle exhibitions will run at the Rockfield Centre until August 7, while Prospect North, which is part of the Oban Festival of Architecture, will run until August 21.

WHERE DOES IT GO NEXT?

SCOTLAND + Venice: Prospect North forms part of Scotland’s celebrations of architecture in 2016 – a year in which the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland celebrates its 100 year anniversary with the nationwide Festival of Architecture.

The Scottish Government has also designated 2016 as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, aimed at showcasing Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally-acclaimed and celebrated creative industries sector.

“This is a very special year for Scotland with The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture both taking place and resulting in a real spotlight being shone on the numerous strengths of Scotland’s architecture community,” said Clive Gilman, Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland.

“We’re really pleased to be supporting Lateral North and Dualchas Architects in delivering this exciting project.”

Prospect North will move to The Lighthouse in Glasgow after the Oban premiere and a series of pop-up versions in venues across the country is planned to bring the exhibition to as many people as possible.