The worlds of art and architecture came together in Stornoway this afternoon, at a celebration of the ‘Building Our Islands’ initiative.
Building Our Islands is a project for everyone in the Outer Hebrides to learn about and engage with their built environment through workshops, illuminations, art and photography.
An Lanntair and The Western Isles Architecture Group have come together to create and deliver this dynamic and innovative architecture project throughout the Outer Hebrides.
The project is supported by HIE and CNES along a number of other funders, including Tighean Innse Gall, The Royal Institute of Scottish Architects and The Big Lottery Fund Awards for All.
Building our Islands aims to include as many people as possible and provide an opportunity to educate various communities about the impact of their own built environment.
The main aim of the project is to encourage children and adults alike to learn about their own built environment and to educate communities about local architecture and design.
Three nights of illuminations were held, in Rodel on Friday 24 March, and in Stornoway on Saturday 25 and Monday 27 March.
On each night the buildings had various projections, including over 400 works of ARTitecture submitted by members of the public.
At An Lanntair today (Wednesday) Neil Ferguson, President of the Inverness Architectural Association, thanked all who had contributed to the Building our Islands programme.
“This project is an opportunity for engagement and communication which is essential for our next generation’s interest and inspiration in the built environment around them in these islands,” he commented.
Catherine Yeatman, an architect tasked with the educational angle of the project, reported on how Building Our Islands had given Hebridean children an opportunity to go out and find out what the built environment around them consisted of.
Schoolchildren were issued a series of worksheets, and looked at various kinds of buildings and how different buildings with different purposes might look.
After compiling a library of different building types, they then produced a worksheet introducing architectural vocabulary, before using Google Earth to compare and contrast what they found in their local environment with an urban environment like one in Inverness or Glasgow.
“It is important to understand what is different and special about here,” she said.
The final stage in the educational programme was a series of workshops run by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) on home energy usage, and making lanterns which would form part of the special illumination events.
The final speaker of the afternoon was John Maher, who has been responsible for a special ‘Architectural Trail’, photographing ‘buildings of architectural significance but also other buildings of special significance to islanders’.
“Being totally into architecture and photography and travelling round the islands it was a no brainer for me when I was asked to this,” he said.
The Western Isles Architectural Trail brochure features a map of 29 selected buildings from across the Outer Hebrides, which will be available in tourist offices among other dedicated areas.
John Maher added that the trail was by no means complete, and there was plenty potential for more buildings to be added to the online version in the near future.
John Maher gave a talk on the new Architectural Trail