Civic Soup is an Edinburgh-based collective set up in 2016 by five recent architecture and cultural management graduates. We engage with communities, addressing the topic of public ownership of space, and encourage playful creativity throughout the city.

We host regular workshops, open meetings and activities. New ideas are always welcome! We are currently based in the ESALA Projects Office in Minto House, on Chambers Street.

Come by!


The nature of our work is constantly evolving as we gain experience. Our core aim is to empower citizens in the creation of space, bringing together the strands of designing and making, inclusively. With these aims, we focus on three fields – design activism, community engagement, and meanwhile use.


We co-design and co-build temporary interventions that seek to open up the possibilities of spatial (re)generation. With residents, we seek to improve or activate existing underused public spaces. From parks and pavements, to larger sites, design activism provokes participants to think differently about public space, pushing them to react to and shape their built environment.


We engage the public in discussions about urban change. By favouring collaborative processes, we expand on traditional methods of consultation. Through liaising with existing community groups, we are able to engage with current networks, helping to produce outcomes relevant to their social context. Often, this aspect of our work consists of a series of participatory design and construction workshops.


Meanwhile use allows local people to temporarily occupy a site awaiting development. Our proposal for meanwhile use activates a site as a community hub. The main focus is to encourage resident-hosted activities, providing the space and resources for people to learn new creative skills. We would also like to use the site as a space for design and construction, where we would work to prototype alternative public spaces.


As a group, we became involved with the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative Meanwhile Site, where we worked on the final stages of the Wikihouse built there. This led to our involvement with Baltic Street Adventure Playground and their Wikihouse, which we clad in February 2017.

At the moment, we are working on participatory design and construction workshops to renovate a library bus with Superpower Agency, a meanwhile use scheme for the site of the Leith Tram Depot, and a project for the Pig Rock Bothy with the National Galleries of Scotland.

Individually, we have a range of experience from community-focused workshops to commercial architecture schemes, as well as exhibitions and events. We draw from this breadth of experience in order to meaningfully engage with communities.

Through the support of ESALA Projects, we have secured the use of an office in the Architecture School, where we’re working on activities with the school, as well as autonomous projects.



Laura wants to expand her experience of community and collaborative based design projects before continuing the professional development necessary to become an architect. She hopes to build upon her previous experience of conventional architectural practice at Bennetts Associates in Edinburgh where she gained valuable insight into the production of architecture. Laura is keen to be involved in socially aware design activity which contributes to the community and the city she now considers home.


Silvan has just finished his studies in Karlsruhe and brings to Scotland an energy and dedication that pushes the team forward. He studied art and cultural management, giving him the necessary skills to pursue the managerial aspect of our projects, as well as in order to secure funding. He currently volunteers with the National Galleries of Scotland & Youth Vision.


Cameron is passionate about how built space can be configured and reconfigured to respond to changing needs rather than to a set agenda. He brings to the table his experience running workshops with Studio Umschichten in Stuttgart, Germany and for Santiago Cirugeda’s office, Recetas Urbanas, in Madrid, Spain.


Calum takes interest in the possibilities offered, both socially and in design, by live-build projects and the processes of engagement and learning involved. With involvement in design/build projects across the UK and abroad, including with Tog Studio on the isle of Tiree and Arkitrek in Malaysia, Calum has first hand experience of the positive effects and remarkable outcomes that are achieved through collective acts of making and construction.


Billy is engaged both by the autonomy of community-led initiatives and their visual documentation. Having previously worked for Selgascano in Madrid, he is inspired by the role of bright colours and recycled materials in the creation of democratic spaces. His graduating project was a refugee shelter in Leith, structured around the collision of world food cultures as an anchor for displaced families.