RIBA's latest exhibition, Making it Happen: New Community Architecture, which is on view through April 27 at the RIBA Architecture Gallery, offers visitors an experiential opportunity to find out more about some of the UK's new and inspiring community architecture projects. This exhibition tells the stories behind four new public spaces - Hastings Pier, Coniston Mechanics Institute, Old Manor Park Library and Loch Lomond National Park.
In the wake of local funding cuts and shifting priorities, private ownership of public buildings and spaces has escalated and alternative approaches to designing and funding spaces for the public realm are emerging. In response, communities have come together to fight to keep buildings open and functioning, mobilising to campaign and fundraise in the face of closure or catastrophe. Current crowd-funding campaigns for public buildings are featured in the exhibition and visitors are invited to contribute what buildings or spaces they would like to reinvigorate or create in their local area.
Architects have been challenged to respond to these circumstances by conceiving new ideas for the design or re-design of existing spaces. In the process architects have become both activist and educator, championing the cause and helping to galvanise the support of the local community.
The four projects featured in this exhibition examine the diverse roles that architects have played in working with communities around the UK. Each example demonstrates a pragmatic response, creating flexible public buildings that give scope for further development.
Photo: Courtesy of Hastings Pier Charity
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