Sehds to be turned into art installations for Botanics show

They are the humble little structures at the bottom of the garden used as a dumping ground for lawnmowers, spades, weed killer and household junk.

Saturday, 30th April 2016, 8:52 am
Updated Saturday, 30th April 2016, 10:42 am
Eilidh Kyle gets the measure of The Ideal Hut by Eva Jiricna CBE. Picture: Neil Hanna

But now the common shed is having its moment, with 18 of them transformed into art installations by leading architects and designers and starring in the Ideal Hut Show, which opens today at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Designers taking part include Benedetta Tagliabue of Miralles Tagliabue, architects of the Scottish Parliament, Kelpies sculptor Andy Scott and one-man firm Craig Amy Architect from Prestonpans.

The exhibition is a headline event of the Festival of Architecture and a key milestone in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

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Themes vary from the fun-filled turquoise Tartan Hut by Isabel and Clara Garriga from Holmes Miller Architects, which is covered with jokes about architects and engineers, and the National Theatre of Scotland puppet theatre by Malcolm Fraser, to A Room of One’s Own by the late David Mackay, with an interior of footprints of a soldier’s boots and a barefoot child which represents the refugee crisis.

Isabel Garriga, from Spain, said her hut reflected the 
Scottish personality.

She said: “We designed it to look like turquoise and black tartan but thought that like many Scots it looked too serious.

“Scots are very sarcastic and humorous so we added the jokes like ‘why do engineers like fixing steel work together? Because it is riveting’.”

Mr Amy’s Night and Day hut features “portholes” through which can be seen panoramic views inside of Balquhidder Glen.

He said: “I work as a ‘one-man band’ so for me to be involved in a headline event with some of the most famous architects in Scotland and with the Scottish Parliament architect is quite exciting.”

Peter Smith and David Fleck of Glasgow-based Page\Park Architects describe their Nothing To See Here hut as a “riff on curiosity”. Despite its name it has a host of periscope-like coloured tubes giving a view of the interior, which has a copper box lit by sunshine and light bouncing off it.

Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, who curated the exhibition, said: “This exhibition shows what architects can do when confronted by a creative challenge and a very small budget.”

Simon Milne, regius keeper at the Botanics, said: “Even though we have some of Edinburgh’s finest buildings, spanning four centuries of architecture, there is always room in a garden for the humble and not so humble garden shed.”

The exhibition runs until May 30.