playing up

for Architecture Fringe
with Civic Soup members & participants
Edinburgh & Online

On a sunny afternoon in June, Civic Soup and pals set out to explore public space through play schema; framing, reflecting and disrupting everyday encounters with common spaces.

As part of the Architecture Fringe Festival 2023 open programme, a play-date in and around the grounds of the Scottish Parliament offered a moment to renegotiate our patterns of play, questioning how we exist in-place.

Below is an index of references alongside records and reflections from participants:

Jiayi Chen, Camille Davison, Ruth Hamilton, Sophia Lycouris, Calum Rennie, Mridula Sharma, Josie Tothill, Maria Morava, Sigi Whittle

( best viewed on desktop 🙃️ )       * texts by Mridula Sharma


The nine play schema form a framework for understanding the patterns of repeated behaviour displayed by babies and young children as their understanding of the world around them evolves.

Beyond these younger years, our range of understandings and perspectives of how we engage with environments narrow. Play is no longer the primary mode in which we challenge ourselves and our surroundings, it becomes limited to specific contexts; Sunday league, pub-quizzes, escape rooms, half-marathons, stag & hen-dos… A means of disengaging, not examining and imagining.

Notions of place can be understood as a series of collective recurrent actions that both generate and reinforce spatial bounds and socially accepted behaviours. How might we serve beyond the tennis court, break out of the Mushroom Kingdom, slosh outside the club?

Do the play schema offer a way of revolutionising the fixed patterns and allowed space for play?

Civic Soup © 2023
Civic Soup CIC is registered in Scotland
with company number SC552340
Civic Soup © 2023
Civic Soup CIC is registered in Scotland with company number SC552340