Successful Open Doors Weekend

We opened our studio for Open Doors Days this weekend. It was a busy couple of days with many visitors. We had lots of interest in the building and everyone enjoyed seeing Arthur Watson’s studio and seeing him at work screen-printing. He and William (from the practice) collaborated on a special print which was printed on the day.


Thanks to all who came and hope to see you again next year!

Dunning Community Event

We are hosting a community event in Dunning on Thursday 27th September 2018 to discuss an exciting new project – Thorny Hill Community Proposal – self-build/custom design houses in Dunning which also include a community led initiative.

The event is being held in Dunning Village hall from 10.30am – 7.30pm.

Come along to the event where there will be an opportunity to learn more about the project and make a contribution to the future of Dunning.

Click here for more information on the project.





Our recent participation at Scotland’s collateral event THE HAPPENSTANCE was a welcomed opportunity to continue our Biennale Architettura theme of NOTATIONS – Marking Time and Space (link to video will follow soon); a Perth based collaborative project with artist Brian Hartley and St Ninians, a local primary school. A great thank you to the teachers and pupils of St Ninians for the enthusiastic and fun approach to our Perth Vennels Project.

Some of my own Venice highlights –

  • Taking the film ‘PLAY ME SOMETHING’ to Venice for its screening in Palazzo Zenobio’s outdoor cinema. Made over 19 years ago, the project was a collaboration between Timothy Neat and John Berger. Filmed on the islands of Barra and Giudecca it had never been shown in Venice and made the occasion of its first showing a very special evening for The Happenstance. During the film show a lady viewer announced she had seen her cousin in one of the Venice sense!


  • Discovering a ‘secret garden’, not too far from The Happenstance that was looked after by a group of student activists. Used for producing food, hosting music events and supporting charity book sales and much more. This direct action for making space useful space is a great example of a community of purpose in the city where Freespace can be found. In response to their hospitality we decided to gift our Mr McGregor’s Garden seed packets for sharing with visitors to their garden.


  • From the Biennale itself the French Pavilion was exceptional with a good strong measure of meaningful ideas and applied practice. A real breath of fresh air amongst the many over thought, over worked and underwhelming installations. However, there were moments of interest and enlightenment amongst a broad display of drawings and sketches in the main pavilion. Perhaps the time to reflect and rethink on the direction and values of the Biennale, whilst The Happenstance continues its onward path towards growth and change in Venice and Scotland.


Thorny Hill Community Proposal

Thorny Hill Community Proposal is an exciting new pilot scheme for custom design self-build houses in Dunning which will include a community led initiative. 

The proposal has support from the Scottish Government and Perth & Kinross Council. The Council’s Housing and Communities Convener, Councillor Peter Barrett, said: “Right across Scotland there is a lack of suitable housing for people, especially in rural areas, and as a Council we are committed to improving that situation in Perth and Kinross.”

Alongside the self-build housing, we also have an opportunity to create a community asset at Thorny Hill. This land will be made available by the landowner, and we are intending to hold a series of community workshops to determine what the nature of this should be to make a positive impact on the Dunning community.

To make this project a success and develop to it’s full potential we hope to engage a wide range of participants to define a future Vision, Development Framework and Action Plan.

There will be a series of community engagements over the summer and an opportunity for you to make a contribution to the outcome of the project.

Click here for regular updates as the project develops.

thorny hill

Funding secured to support people to build their own homes in Perth and Kinross

Perth & Kinross Council has supported an application from our practice for funding from the Scottish Government to look at providing plots where people can build their own houses from scratch.

Many people are looking to build a bespoke home which is tailored to their family needs, but they can find it tough getting the right advice and securing funding.  The Scottish Government’s Self and Custom Build Challenge Fund was launched last year to support self-build.

The practice, supported by the Council, will look to develop a strategy to deliver self/custom build plots with a focus on providing affordable homes in Perthshire.

barn raising

For more information go to the PKC website or contact the practice for more details and updates.

ReCAP – Perth’s vennels brought to life!

The practice has been involved in organising an exciting event in Perth – ReCAP – with Fergus Purdie co-curating the day alongside artist Susie Johnston and Poppy Jarratt, producer of ReCAP at Culture Perth and Kinross.

ReCAP is an arts event taking place on the 5th May 2018, where arts, food, drink and entertainment will be brought to 4 of Perth’s city centre vennels.

Eight local artists will transform the vennels for one day only with video art, installations and street art. This is a chance for the public to imagine Perth and its public spaces differently and give an opportunity to give an opinion on how to better use public spaces.

The day runs from 10am to 10pm.


ReCAP has been getting great publicity from the local press and will hopefully be a well attended day.

Come along, join in and have your say!

Find out more about the event by following on Instagram or Twitter.

Practice to feature in International Exhibition – The Happenstance

The practice is part of a team of Scottish artists and architects being led by WAVEparticle who are representing Scotland at the international exhibition: The Biennale Architecttura 2018.

To celebrate Scotland’s year of Young People, we have been working with the pupils at St Ninian’s to explore the vennels of Perth. The exhibited work will be a film made in collaboration with artist Brian Hartley, which documents the children exploring and learning about the city centre vennels through workshops and creating artwork in response to their experiences of these Freespaces.

In addition to the film we have created special seed packets which will handed out to local participants at the event in exchange for a word, story or song!

seed packet-1

The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s leading architecture and arts festivals. With an audience of more than half a million people each year. The exhibition for 2018 will be titled The Happenstance and focuses of the theme of Freespace.

The proposal is supported and promoted by the Scotland + Venice partnership: Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, British Council and the Year of Young People/Young Scot.

The exhibition in Venice will run from May to November 2018.
Architecture + Design Scotland
Biennale Architecttura

Doors Open Days 2017

Get into buildings this September! The studios and residence at Melville Street are taking part in Doors Open Days in Perth City on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September 2017 between 10am and 4pm.

We are showcasing our new window display which presents an exhibition ‘The Artist & The City’ and a selection of art works by Arthur Watson. ‘The Artist & The City’ panels show a selection of our practice research in developing design propositions located within the city of Perth.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment.  It offers free access to over a thousand venues across the country throughout September, every year.

For more information and to download a full programme visit the Doors Open Days website –

programme     artist in the city

Architecture School Summer Workshop

From the 8th – 10th of August, the practice worked alongside arts group WAVEparticle and Culture Perth and Kinross to deliver an Architecture School Summer workshop. The event was fully booked by local children aged 10-16.

Over the course of the 3 days we encouraged the group to think how they might ‘curate the city’ using Perth Museum’s collections and the idea of creating new spaces that you could place the collection objects within the city. Through the mediums of sketching, model making and digital media the group created lots of exciting and interesting ideas – and the visual results were fantastic!

On the final day there was an exhibition presented by the group to the public. Many thanks to all involved for what has been a great experience for the practice.

IMG_2694 (1)    IMG_2691

Positive feedback from St John’s Public Consultation

The public consultation for the Perth Creative Exchange at the site of St John’s Primary School took place on Tuesday the 18th July. The project was very positively received by local residents and artists, as well as former pupils of the school.

The practice has continued to support both WASPS and Perth & Kinross Council with this ambitious project and was pleased to present our entrance and landscape proposals at the event.

St Johns entrance - Visual 2  St Johns entrance - Visual 1

To see the Courier’s coverage of the event and our panels on display click here.

St John’s Creative Exchange, Perth

A public consultation with local residents and artists will take place on the 18th July.

There will be an opportunity for the public to view and make comments on the plans for the Creative Exchange being developed in the former St John’s Primary School.

Council officers and representatives of WASPS, who will be managing the Creative Exchange on behalf of the Council, will be at the event to answer any questions.

The consultation will take place from 2pm-7pm in the Riverview Room at Bell’s Sports Centre.

The practice has continued to support both WASPS and Perth & Kinross Council in this ambitious project and hope for a well attended day.



Land Works – Practice receives Sir William Gillies bequest award by the RSA

Land Works; the practice has recently received a Sir William Gillies bequest award by the RSA. The award supports the continuation of our practice research looking at the working relationship between creative practitioners and the City of Perth;  a process of study that will demonstrate the significant role and contribution that residual spaces, unseen and often overlooked, can make to the evolving city. Our approach will include a mapping process to identify potential site locations together with a series of design exercises to investigate site specific interventions.

city model


Design Concepts for Perth City Hall go on Public Display

Five architectural firms were shortlisted in Perth & Kinross Council’s competition to redesign Perth’s City Hall. The Council officially launched the competition in February, challenging the architectural practices to come up with a grand vision for redeveloping the building.

We are proud to be collaborating with MVRDV and Austin-Smith: Lord on this exciting project to create initial design concepts that breathe new life into this historic B-Listed building.

The initial design concepts go on public display today with a presentation at Civic Hall, 2 High Street, Perth. The public have the opportunity to comment on the concepts and a final decision on which architect is selected will rest with the council and is due by the end of 2017.

IMG_20170612_120802840   IMG_20170612_120756413

Young Architects Summer School

Curating the City, Young Architects Summer School 2017. The practice has preparations underway for the Young Architects Summer School which takes place over the course of 3 days in August. Youngsters will be encouraged to think about how they might ‘curate the City’ using Perth Museum’s collections and the idea of creating new spaces as the starting point. We will be showing sketches of projects as examples of how ideas develop into reality.

Camera Obscura Blog

Main activities for workshops will include:                                                                       • Drawing
• Visual and conceptual thinking
• Physical making- eg models (small scale and large scale)
• Digital creation –  3D modelling
• Fieldwork

We are looking forward to meeting and working with young architects for some exciting and creative ideas.


Successful Launch of the RSA Annual Exhibition

RSA Annual Exhibition

The Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition is a focal point of the RSA programme and showcases work from RSA Academicians the length and breadth of Scotland. Now in it’s 191st year, it continues to provide a platform for contemporary painting, sculpture, film, printmaking, photography and installation alongside work by some of the country’s leading architects.

We are participating by showcasing an abridged version of the exhibition a botanist looks at the world. Curated by the practice, the exhibition celebrated the life and work of Patrick Geddes (1854 – 1932) and was researched and developed with reference to the Geddesian triptych PLACE · WORK · FOLK. Images, illustrations and supporting text were organised as a series of wall hung square panels presenting Geddes’s ideas and values.

Exhibition Dates:
1 April 2017 – 7 May 2017

panels final-1panels final-2panels final-3



Urban Realm Top 100 Architects


A great start to 2017.

We are delighted to announce that the practice has again been selected in Urban Realm’s Top 100 Practices.

The list, which is based on nominations from clients and other consultants, considers all architectural practices registered with the RIAS and ranks 100 practices which have done most to reshape the physical make-up of Scotland.


House at Hawick Featured in ‘Profile’

House at Hawick, previously exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, is currently being showcased by Russwood in its latest issue of Profile. The newsletter article ‘A SIMPLE MODERNIST HOME’ includes images of the completed house designed by our practice. The high standard of the finished project, by the client and contractor, looks first class and is a great example of a self-build project.


To view or download Profile click here