So Create A Difference Tunbridge Wells
RIBA West Kent Branch and the RIBA Local Initiative Fund have funded So Create A Difference, a pop-up exhibition of local architects' visualisations and community brainstorm in Tunbridge Wells town centre.
Local people flocked to the So Create A Difference pop-up brainstorm with architects in Tunbridge Wells.Photo: Chris Cassidy
So Create A Difference was the idea of James Galpin, Partner in Hazle McCormack Young and Stuart Page, both Tunbridge Wells-based architects. Their intention was to give people in the community an opportunity to have their say and to feed through their views to the local council.
RIBA South/South East co-ordinated the funding and the local architects' participation and organised the venue. In January 2013 in Royal Victoria Place, the Tunbridge Wells shopping centre, 20 architects showed their ideas for transforming the town. The exhibition was in a shop window for a week and on the Saturday a community brainstorm was led by architects as a pop-up in the shop. Up to 600 people attended the brainstorm and several thousand stopped by to view the exhibition.
Public reaction to So Create A Difference has been one of excitement and interest, as well as understanding of the importance of masterplanning and of the architects' role. As one participant commented 'I can't stop thinking about your event. It's made me see the town and the people who live and work here with fresh eyes. A big thank you for waking me and others up to fresh ways of 'seeing''.
James Robinson, Regional Director, said: 'We're so pleased that local residents have been incredibly positive and engaged in the process and have given so many well-considered, creative and realistic ideas on the exciting future possibilities for the town'.
Following So Create A Difference, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has asked to meet with the RIBA and with the co-ordinating architects. The participating architects' and the public's visualisations and views will be turned into a book and presented to senior staff and elected officers at the Council during Spring 2013.
RIBA West Kent Branch is using the experience of So Create A Difference to explore ways of working with local councils.
The organisers of So Create A Difference are very grateful to Mike Goode of Hop House Design and to Royal Victoria Place.
Follow So Create A Difference on Facebook. For more information contact RIBA South/South East.
The exhibition of local architects’ ideas was in the shop window for a week. The brainstorm was held in the shop itself
The architects presented their revisualisations of parts of the town centre in a lively way
Students at a local secondary school came along and got involved in the brainstorming