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The 4th biennial survey of architecture in Scotland is the starting point for the next exhibition at the Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale Mill. It is entitled Building Biographies and is on tour from The Lighthouse, Scotland’s National Architecture and Design Centre, in Glasgow. It is a self contained exhibition featuring recent projects from Scotland and Norway that examine issues of culture of place and regional identity in this time of globalisation. It looks at four recently completed buildings, three from Scotland and one from Norway, to explore the new trends in regional and sustainable building. The exhibition was co-curated by Oliver Lowenstein and Morag Bain and features specially commissioned models, photographs and films.

Nick Barley, the Director of The Lighthouse writing about the exhibition and the publication that accompanies it expresses: “The point of departure was to ask to what extent today’s new buildings are a reflection of the region in which they are produced. In effect, we wanted to find out whether there is such a thing we can describe as a ‘new Scottish architecture’, or a ‘new European architecture’, or even a ‘new regionalism’ and if so, what exactly these phrases might mean, “But as the project has progressed, its scope has become more refined. By asking ‘what are the factors which make a building the way it is?’, we have ended up searching for answers to the question of what architecture might stand for in a post-industrial, post-fossil-fuel, post-Modern age.”

The themes that lay at the heart of Building Biographies – those of region, the pervading spirit of place and of all our senses, of materiality and tactility, and a particular approach to sustainability – criss-cross the Scottish buildings featured in the survey and together they offer an evocative illustration of a diversity of styles emerging in these areas.

Architecturally, the clearest contrast between Scotland and Norway is that Norway has one of the longest and unbroken traditions in timber building and construction, while Scotland is known for a building tradition which until recently, has shown limited interest in timber, despite the many forested parts of the country. The two Norwegian buildings featured in Building Biographies show how a new generation of young architects is using contemporary architectural vocabularies to continue, in the most general way, two of Norway’s most noticeable cultural influences; the abiding power and love of the natural world and the commitment to work with, and expand, the possibilities of wood.

There will be no preview for this exhibition, however, the gallery will play host to the launch of the Power of Place Festival – Shetland’s Year of Architecture and Place. The evening event is planned for 8th May from 6-8pm and everyone is welcome.

Building Biographies opens to the public on Saturday 25 April and will run until Sunday 24 May. The Gallery and Café are open Tue – Sat 10.30am-4.30pm and Sun 12.00pm-4.30pm.

For further information please contact Mary Smith on 01595 743737

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