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Prospect North asks audiences to look north as part of the Venice Biennale

Published: 11 Mar 2016

Lateral North, Community Engagement  

Scotland’s contribution to the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale is Prospect North – an immersive exhibition created by Lateral North, Dualchas Architects and Soluis, and curated by the Scotland + Venice partnership – Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland and the British Council Scotland.

Prospect North explores Scotland and its relationship alongside its northern neighbours with a focus on people and place. This micro to macro approach delivers a series of innovative mapping strategies, individual narratives, portraits and evocative imagery, highlighting Scotland’s place and identity within an economically emerging northern region. 

Prospect North will explore the relationship between people, culture, places, industries and economies and how ‘peripheral’ communities from the Northern Isles of Orkney to the industrial heartland of the central belt of Scotland are re-energising through grassroots actions and local endeavours.  Their unique situations and background are revealed through their stories from the past, present and future.

The Prospect North exhibition and event series will run from 26 May until 25 June at Ludoteca Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Venice, and will then return to Scotland for a nationwide tour as part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture in 2016.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s architecture policy has long recognised the links between good design and participation, and improving outcomes for communities, and this is year’s Biennale theme is an excellent opportunity to showcase how community input, vision and leadership in Scotland has delivered real benefits. 

“The Scotland + Venice project will again promote Scotland’s emerging architecture talent.  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.

“The Prospect North project will be a key element of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. It will not only showcase Scottish practice in Venice, but through a tour across Scotland it will also promote further the benefits of linking our communities with our design talent and creativity.”

Commenting on this year's Scottish entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale, Graham Hogg and Tom Smith of Lateral North said: “It is a huge honour for us to be chosen in collaboration with Dualchas Architects to be the lead consultant for this year’s Scottish entry to the Venice Biennale. When we first tendered for the project we saw it as a dream - throughout our architectural education and experience the Venice Biennale was viewed as a huge achievement. It is one that we are thoroughly excited about and can’t wait to highlight the fantastic work being undertaken throughout Scotland’s communities.”

Karen Anderson, Chair of Architecture and Design Scotland, said: “Scotland has an important story to tell of how, over recent years, local communities have worked with architects and others to improve their rural and urban areas. Lateral North – with Dualchas Architects – will bring individual Scottish community stories and examples of successful projects to Venice to provide inspiration for the many countries represented at the Biennale.  Following the Biennale A&DS will bring the exhibition back to Scotland as part of Say Hello to Architecture - our contribution, to the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.  This is part of our ongoing work to inspire Scotland's communities about what good architecture and design can do to improve their lives, and to highlight the importance of the quality of Scotland's rural and urban areas.”

Clive Gilman, Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland said: We’re really pleased to be supporting Lateral North and Dualchas Architects in delivering this exciting project for Venice. This is a special year for Scotland with The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture both taking place and a real spotlight being shone on the strengths of Scotland’s architecture community. This project will demonstrate the vision of this community to the world, before returning to Scotland where it will be seen across the country.”

Norah Campbell, Head of Arts, British Council Scotland said: "Through the Scotland + Venice partnership, British Council Scotland is delighted to be working with Lateral North, Dualchas Architects and Soluisto showcase the breadth of creative talent and work taking place across Scotland at this prestigious international event, and to support the strengthening of international connections for architects, artists and community leaders who will take part in a programme of international workshops on community empowerment, identity and wellbeing in Venice."

Dualchas Architects director, Alasdair Stephen said: “We are delighted that Dualchas and Lateral North have been given this opportunity to represent Scotland at this year’s Venice Biennale. It is a huge responsibility and also a great privilege.

“The architecture profession is at a crossroads.  New technology and emerging new industry sectors such as 3D printing and virtual reality are set to revolutionise how we operate.  That is why we have partnered with ground-breaking Glasgow-based Soluis AR to produce what we hope will be an extraordinary interactive exhibition.

“Dualchas and Lateral North believe that Scottish architecture and art is comparable with our contemporaries in Europe.  We want to take the opportunity of the Venice Biennale to demonstrate this to the wider world.”

Details of the programme will be available on www.ads.org.uk/scotlandvenice16 and across social media using the hashtag #prospectnorth

The exhibition materials have been sponsored by James Latham.


For further comments, images or interviews please contact: Anja Ekelof, Architecture and Design Scotland, on:

M: 07519 602637 or
T: 0131 550 0938


Note for Editors

About Scotland + Venice

The Scotland + Venice Partnership is a collaboration between Scottish Government and Architecture & Design Scotland, British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland.

About The 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016. Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture & Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Join the conversation #IAD2016