Gem Barton

Icecream Architecture Travels Around Europe Teaching Architecture from the Back of a Van!

by , 07/20/12

Icecream Architecture, Desmond Bernie, Sarah Frood, community architecture, teaching people about architecture, architecture education, teaching design

Just like the ice-cream man, Icecream Architecture is all about the community. The organization was established in Scotland in 2009 by Desmond Bernie and Sarah Frood with the aim of bringing an approachable face to the architecture profession. With a strong background in architectural planning, the duo focuses on community consultation and engagement, bringing a fun and interactive element to what can often be a difficult process.


Icecream Architecture, Desmond Bernie, Sarah Frood, community architecture, teaching people about architecture, architecture education, teaching design

The van itself acts as quite the icebreaker at the workshops, festivals, charettes and events they attend, getting the architectural juices and conversation flowing on sociable basis. The van also offers a platform for clients and community groups to develop their projects into realized spaces, structures and buildings. The founding aim was to involve clients in every aspect of the design process and to ensure that the architect acted as a facilitator for the needs of the project’s end user. The physical presence of their friendly team at the early stages of a project ensures a strong relationship is built on trust and inside knowledge; this process generates feedback on design ideas and a truly collaborative practice.

When working within communities, a sense of ownership of changes to their community and environment is second to none. There is an emphasis on locality and the urban/rural environment of interest to each project. Icecream Architecture’s design strategies are based on context and need; the context of the project’s heritage and environment as well as the needs of the continued end user.

It takes guts to remove a designer from the safety of their office and go out on the road. Icecream Architecture’s basic principles require this of them, and their ice-cream van is their fun-time facilitator.

Imagine that everyday is different, it’s no ordinary job, you can drive as far as you like and meet as many people as will talk to you. There is romanticism to this uncertainty in our current economic environment that I think many designers would envy.

+ Icecream Architecture

Photos via Icecream Architecture’s website 

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