What If…? / Scotland at the V&A Dundee

7N Architect’s What if…?/Scotland exhibition, which was due to be staged in Venice as part of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, will now open at V&A Dundee on Saturday 22 May and run until Sunday 21 November 2021.

What if…? / Scotland responds to the Biennale’s theme How will we live together?, seeking to re-engage the civic role of architects and designers by asking citizens from across Scotland to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the places they call home.

At the start of 2020 and prior to the first nationwide lockdown, 7N paired 25 people from 5 places across Scotland with 25 designers, architects, and artists – to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the place where they live. The architects and designers then used these wishes to begin exploring imaginative ideas in response to the community challenges being faced.

This collaborative process has been captured in a series of short films forming the narrative focus of the exhibition. The stories of each place, as told by its citizens and set within the rich and varied landscapes of rural and urban Scotland, are presented in an immersive environment designed for reflection and inspiration.

Project lead, Ewan Anderson of 7N, said: “If the past year has shown us anything, it is the importance of community and the Biennale Architettura 2020’s theme ‘How will we live together?’ seems more salient than ever.

“With What if…? / Scotland, we really wanted to encourage collaborative thinking between designers and communities to demonstrate how community-led, grassroots engagement can stimulate big ideas from conversations about people’s wishes for the future of their places. ‘What if…?’ is an open question that can - and has - stimulated fantastic and energetic discussion, debate and creative thinking within the communities we have worked together with across Scotland; and pointed towards ways in which we can make meaningful and positive change.

“As we emerge from the latest lockdown the notion of people in Scotland’s communities coming together to plan for a better future has never been more important. The What If? initiative is about making these conversations as direct and inspiring as they can be. Architecture unplugged!”