Dundee Institute of Architects and BAM Construction - The People’s Tower; Dundee’s Royal Arch
Impacts: Community & social empowerment and Tourism
Business benefits: Business/brand name awareness, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creative development, Develop community links, Enjoyment, Image enhancement, Marketing, PR opportunities and Staff relations
We were delighted to have BAM Construction involved. We thought we could try and get a construction company to support our build day, and approached BAM as they were building the V&A which directly overlooked our project site. We did have a poor start and tried to approach them through their UK marketing department which was unsuccessful. It was only when we were given a local contact via a contact through Dundee City Development that we managed to reach the right person and meet him in person. From the start Jim Ward was excited about the project, encouraging and very willing to help. The most valuable offer was that of fencing and overnight security. To know that this element would be taken care of was a huge weight off our minds and the budget.
The project highlighted the architectural history of Dundee in a fun way. He was delighted that his staff could use their volunteer time scheme to take part in such an unusual activity. He appreciated that it was a uniquely Dundonian project that tied in with heritage and building and that it would get people to think about the Waterfront development. It would also associate BAM with positive celebratory news stories.
BAM staff took part in workshops to transform some of the 1,200 flat pieces of card into cardboard boxes, cutting and shaping some of those into architectural details for the arch, and featuring in the Courier. We were particularly delighted at the enthusiasm of Sean Macdonald, who came to several site visits with us, planned all the fencing install and removal and even got bespoke tonne weights made on the BAM site, for our use. On build day he was there from the start, and was a particular core member of the team moving boxes from the workshop to the build site.
The build went very smoothly, with many families enjoying the day. It took until about 5pm to finish the group effort to lift, shunt boxes underneath and tape up the structure. On Sunday 29th the arch was spectacularly toppled, before being trampled by the public and disposed of.
Arts/cultural/heritage organisation story
The key benefit was being able to deliver the project. Far beyond the cash sponsorship, BAM’s willingness to undertake the overnight security of the arch, provide all the fencing and generally help with the site was invaluable. Having the matched funds helped us to promote the event properly and credit appropriately with site signage. The community in Dundee reacted incredibly well to the project. Approximately 3,000 people took part and gave great feedback. We were featured heavily in the local press, on BBC Radio Scotland, Tay FM and Wave FM, as well as on STV news.
There was a newspaper poll asking if the public wanted the original Royal Arch rebuilt, which gathered over 2,000 signatures. This was a fun but unintended outcome, and the council had to make a statement declaring they had no intention to rebuild it. A key learning for us is to think more broadly about in-kind support and help available from sectors outside our own. People can be very willing to help with time, equipment and staff rather than cash support.
The business enjoyed an exciting activity to engage staff and their families. Staff volunteers with the box building, and on build day with their families which supported team building and networking opportunities among staff. Sponsoring the event supported BAM’s CSR and Community Engagement policies and directly linked with their ‘Making TIME for Communities’ agenda. It raised the profile of the company in an area where they are already undertaking works - reaching a wide group of stakeholders including engaging local community. The project engaged people in conversation about the built environment and created dialogue about current developments in Dundee including BAM’s V&A project which is beneficial to the industry and to BAM.
The project was launched as part of the Ignite Festival, with the main sponsors pictured for press – Martin Henderson from Gowrie Contracts, Christine Palmer, Dundee Institute of Architects, Elsie Turbyne from Xplore Dundee, Claire Dow, Brett Davidge from Apex Hotels, with Sean Macdonald and Malcolm Boyd from BAM. There was widespread coverage of the event, with BAM banners prominent in pictures, and on site all weekend. Crew also wore BAM hi-vis vests. The Dundee Institute of Architects and BAM did some joint CPD, with Jim Ward presenting on the construction of the V&A on Dundee Waterfront, during the run up to our event. It was nice to celebrate them working more widely together on Twitter.
We took postcode samples of participants on the Saturday build day which was analysed by Culture Republic. We were pleased with the diverse range of participants. According to the data gathered, the People's Tower attracted a diverse audience with participation from younger members of the public and families. Importantly, those mosaic groups which represent the lower end of the income spectrum (Family Basics, Transient Renters, Municipal Challenge and Modest Traditions) which account for a large percentage of households within Dundee City are represented albeit in lower numbers than other groups.
Participants in the People's Tower came primarily from Dundee itself with 58 percent of households coming from the Dundee City local authority area. Within Dundee, the DD2 postcode district (west of the city which includes Lochee, Blackness, Ninewells, Menziehill, Charleston, Balgay, Ardler and Logie) accounted for 21 percent of participants and DD3 and DD5 each accounting for 15 percent.
For the cultural organisation the project income came from many and varied sources. Knowing that we could apply for match funding helped to secure the cash input from BAM. In particular it was helpful to be able to acknowledge the value of the in-kind support. The difference it made was in our ability to promote the event, and to credit onsite. The Business felt their contribution bolstered by the added value of being able to apply for the match funds.