For the third consecutive year, students from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Heriot-Watt University have given up part of their summer holidays to bring the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to fruition.

Returning to Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock, which last year’s students helped extend with play equipment using recycled materials, the team have been working with local community volunteers and children to co-design and build a permanent playground WikiHouse.

WikiHouse is an internaional, open-source initiative which aims to bring about a digital revolution in the way we make homes. The Baltic Street structure is a 4.7m x 4m insulated pavilion constructed from digitally-fabricated, lightweight plywood ‘jigsaw’ pieces clad with a bright red Wraptite membrane.

The project was supported by an Innovation Initiative Grant from the Edinburgh Fund at the University of Edinburgh and sponsored by BAM Construction.

An incredible way to wrap up my undergraduate years

Tectonics: Civic Fabrications is a design unit within the Architecture - BA/MA programme at ECA. Its focus is on ‘the civic’ as an architectural design challenge.

Included among the staff and students taking part in the WikiHouse project were five recent graduates from the MA (Hons) programme, including Teresa Boulting.

She says of the project "The Dalmarnock WikiHouse was an incredible way to wrap up my undergraduate years at ESALA: bringing together what, to me, is essential in architecture: to improve the human experience to a greater sense of meaning and wellbeing for the individual as well as the collective, both in its method of fabrication and in its result."

Last year, Alex won a University of Edinburgh award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Student Experience’ for project-based initiatives such as the Dalmarnock design and builds. This year’s project also draws on the experience of Akiko Kobayashi, a part-time member of staff at ECA, who led a project to construct a community WikiHouse in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh.

Building a Wikihouse for the community

"Everyone at Baltic Street is thrilled with our new WikiHouse! Working with the ESALA team has been really great..."

Sarah McMillan, Operations Manager

Really sensitive to the child-led ethos of the playground

Site of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, Dalmarnock is located to the east of Glasgow, on the north bank of the River Clyde.

For the last three years, Architecture - BA/MA students have been imagining futures for the town’s post-industrial infrastructure based on a range of socio-economic forecasts and scenarios. Their designs have been displayed at the annual ECA Degree Show and, in 2015, at the New Glasgow Society as part of the West End Festival.

Baltic Street Adventure Playground was established in 2013 by local community members working with Turner Prize winners, Assemble, and Create London. It has been collaborating with our Civic Fabrications unit since 2014 as part of ESALA Projects, an initiative to support ‘real world’ projects involving Architecture and Landscape Architecture students and staff.

Sarah McMillan, Operations Manager at the Playground, says "Everyone at Baltic Street is thrilled with our new WikiHouse! Working with the ESALA team has been really great; they are really sensitive to the child-led ethos of the playground and have involved the children here at every possible opportunity!

We're thrilled to have had them along for the third year in a row and hope to continue and grow the relationship for many years to come. Thanks to all the staff and students as well as funders and businesses who contributed to this project!"

The WikiHouse project

The WikiHouse project was led by Alex MacLaren with Professor Fiona McLachlan. Alex is a Design Studio tutor at ECA and an Assistant Professor in Architectural Design at Heriot-Watt University.

The WikiHouse project was carried out with participation and co-funding from the Innovative Initiative Grant (IIG) given by the University’s Development and Alumni office, Heriot Watt University and BAM Construction.

IIGs are funded by alumni and friends of the University of Edinburgh who are keen to support innovation in teaching, research and student life. IIGs promote new initiatives in teaching, research and student experience. Applications are open to permanent members of staff and current students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) as well as EUSA, EUSA societies, the Sports Union and recognised sports clubs.

The submission windows for Innovation Initiative Grants application windows are open for two six week periods each year that conclude in October and March.


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