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What does 2022 hold for the UK's 'Cultural Cities'?

CGI of The Barony project in East Ayrshire, on the site of a former coal mine (Scott Brownrigg for The Barony NP (UK) Ltd)

The infection rates are rising from Omicron but local authorities are still planning to hold cultural events to attract visitors and open museums previously closed due to the pandemic. In addition, eco-tourism parks are being developed perhaps in response to Covid but also the desire to embrace greater sustainability.

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Scott Brownrigg Board Director Neil MacOmish will be speaking at our first 'Cultural Cities' event of 2022, about the practice's new project - The Barony in East Ayrshire.

Scott Brownrigg's design for a new environmentally sensitive eco-therapy wellness park in Scotland has been submitted to East Ayrshire Council for planning. It is designed for The Barony NP (UK) Ltd – a joint venture between National Pride UK and Intro Crowd - and the 44-hectare masterplan will transform the site of an ex-coal mine to include 344 villas, a visitor centre and spa areas, alongside ecological sites that will will generate produce and research from an ambitious re-wilding programme.

Scott Brownrigg says:

'The Barony is designed to be ‘off grid’ economically sustainable development and ecologically friendly carbon sink, meaning it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. Energy will come from a combination of green roofs with PV’s and a unique geothermal system that is being developed to recover heat from the water within the depth of the sealed mines.

“This site is not a blank canvas. It requires a response grounded in its history and heritage, which is critical to a successful and distinctive design.”

Neil leads Scott Brownrigg's Cardiff office. Having graduated from The Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, Neil continued his research education at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London in Space Syntax Theory. He is committed to a pragmatic approach to an architecture which is sustainable commercially, socially as well as environmentally. He has also been involved in the many practice's high profile schemes over the year including the International Convention Centre in Newport and the Museum of Military Medicine.

It continues to be a difficult time for cultural institutions across the UK with the outbreak of new variants of Covid-19. Despite this, 2022 will see the re-opening of the Royal College of Physicians, Glasgow's Burrell Collection, Manchester Museum and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Joint Chief Executives of Birmingham Museums Trust Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah said:

'The year ahead is really exciting. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has been closed - firstly by the pandemic and then for rewiring - but we're going to partially reopen in 2022 in time for the Commonwealth Games...

'We've invited some of the city's leading creatives and arts organisations to animate the Round Room and Industrial Gallery with vibrant new displays that feel much more immediate. We'll be touching on themes like popular culture, identity and community. 'We are Birmingham' will reflect the people of 21st Century Birmingham. Co-curated by Birmingham Museums and a group of young people from Don't Settle in partnership with Beatfreeks, the new display will present a vivid celebration of the city that Birmingham is now, as well as aspirations of what the city could become.'

In the build up to the 2022 World Cup, the Design Museum in London, presents the first major exhibition on the design of the world's most popular sport, football. The exhibition, the organisers say, will reveal how 'human creativity has pushed the game to its technical and emotional limits, while exploring the incredible cultural pluralism at its heart'. From master-planning the world's significant football stadiums to the innovative materials used in today's boots, the exhibition will be produced in partnership with the National Football Museum in Manchester.

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