Architectural debates are rubbish.
We've all been there: a panel of similar designers with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of debates will rugby tackle fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to foment open and critical discussion, turning conventional consensus on its head.
Are the Planners really to blame for the state of our built environment?
Nobody likes a planner, but then nobody much likes an architect either so exactly where should we point the finger of blame for the less than adequate built environment that we produce in Scotland?
Demonised, marginalised and reduced to the role of pen pushing, NIMBY baiting, powerless development managers - our planners have become mere pawns in the game of globalised, neo-liberal economic development.
Enough is enough, it’s time to give them a hug, value their ideas and release their wanton passion and imagination. It’s time to put planning on the pedestal and make the case for more planners, doing more planning, more of the time.
6.30pm, Friday 23 June, Glasgow
Pop-up food, booze, fashion and architecture. Whats next?
As our collective attention span is diminishing to the point of no return how much more can we take? Advocates suggest temporary & pop-up architecture is an agile way of testing ideas in an urban context, but really it just an exploitative phenomenon that saps creativity and creates quick wins for those with capital interests in contested sites To round off our day of collective back-slapping on the advantages of ‘prototyping ideas’ we face up up to the truth behind this ubiquitous and ridiculous trend in urban development.
7.00pm, Thursday 29 September
Is Dundee losing itself in the chase for glamour? What is the cultural future of Dundee beyond razzamatazz. As the new waterfront emerges into the sunshine are the city's industrial hinterlands being left behind to decay and demolition? What areas of the city and what specific buildings within them are crucial for Dundee's future? What strategic infrastructure does the city need to nurture, both culturally and spatially, to position itself locally, nationally and internationally? Blending humour with critical thought, join us to share your views as we move towards the halfway-point of Dundee's biggest urban transformation yet.
7.00pm, Thursday 21 July
The built environment is increasingly irrelevant. Modern society is built around digital space and online networks. Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is ‘liked’ more often on Instagram than in damp, chilly reality. Nightclubs are no longer required, when friendship and flirtation is available at a swipe with Tinder, Grindr and Snapchat.
Two Edinburghs now exist in parallel, and the relationship between the physical and virtual versions grows ever-more distant. Good! It's time for us all to step away from the crumbling street and inhabit an instantaneous, clean, energy-rich and aesthetically pleasing augmented reality, all together, online. *Like!*
7.00pm, Thursday 7 July
Local authorities across Scotland wield wrecking ball and dynamite prefering social cleansing to mindful mending of our working class and marginal neighbourhoods. The destruction of these communities, left to rot and degrade by successive generations of politicians, is luridly feted as a calculated process of gentrification-by-force dilutes people and place. Architects have become complicit in a one-size-fits-all strategy intrinsically weighted towards return-on-investment rather than acting as facilitators for a thoughtful process of social, cultural and economic self-generated development of community.
Turncoats Scotland is part of the Architecture Fringe festival
Any group of people with a thirst for intellectual mischief can join the Society of Turncoats and form a chapter in their city. Membership is of the society is free. Once a member your chapter can use and improve the format to host official Turncoats events. It began with Architecture, but can be transposed to other disciplines in need of an alternative format to niggle into the depths of difficult issues.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org about setting up a chapter