Tammy Watchorn



Tammy makes models of iconic Edinburgh buildings out of LEGO®. We were – of course – super-excited to find out last year via Twitter that she had made a LEGO® Summerhall and delighted when she responded to our open call.

We especially like that Tammy’s model is not intended to be an entirely faithful representation of the building, but a response to it. The work is entitled #AfterSummerhall and is inspired by her interactions with the building and the way it has been repurposed over the years. For the commission, Tammy has taken some new photos showing some of the fascinating details of the model, and written some text about her approach.

Having been a fan of LEGO® since I was a child, I finally indulged in my first adult set about 8 years ago and became totally hooked. After a few great (but expensive) sets I decided I’d start to explore building my own models, using Edinburgh as a guide and inspiration.

My first big Edinburgh build was the Dominion Cinema in Morningside, a model which ended up in the Evening News. My 15 minutess of fame. I then went on to some smaller (and easier) builds including Eddie’s Fishmongers in Marchmont and some micro builds including St Andrew’s House.

Then, about 18 months ago, I decided I wanted to do a really BIG project – one that could be broken down into specific modular builds that could then be assembled into a bigger structure. I was mulling over this idea during one of Sam’s yoga sessions in the attic at Summerhall and as I walked down the main stairs after the class I had my big ‘haha’ moment. I would build something based on Summerhall.

Summerhall is all the things I love; a glorious building re-purposed and without the standard ripping out and genericising; innovative use of the existing spaces for totally different things; a sense of community; an independent venture; and a place that always makes me feel welcome, a place where you feel there is always so much going on but also, a place you can just sit and enjoy the atmosphere without necessarily taking part in anything.

I decided to not try and build an exact replica but to capture the essence of the place with a modular build. The ground floor is mostly an open social space with welcome desk, food and drink, hot desking, notice boards, library, quiet corner and chess board. Doors lead off to each of the side wings which have a gym (complete with Sam’s yoga dog) and a theatre, currently hosting a book reading for How to be More Pirate.

As we move up the stairs, we have 3 workshop spaces set up for cooking classes, flower arranging and a sewing workshop (with gifts to buy).

The third floor is a large open area with bar and stage and has been designed to be altered for different occasions. The current set up is a Halloween Ceilidh with plenty of zombies.

Outside we have a community garden and outdoor space, with daytime activities for families and a 4 in 1 food truck (including a donner kebab and pizza oven) for those that have had a beer or two in the evening at the Royal Brick bar.

It was never intended to be an exact replica, but the intent was to capture the essence of Summerhall – something for everyone and always with a nice sociable buzz. As with Summerhall there is innovative use of adaptable space and even (bricks permitting) the option to include another floor and yet more activities.

I call it #AfterSummerhall.