Popular ‘people's build’ returns to arts festival

Going up: 1,680 tonnes of cardboard recyled by Walsh Waste at last year's Galway International Arts Festival.

Going up: 1,680 tonnes of cardboard recyled by Walsh Waste at last year's Galway International Arts Festival.

A favourite of the 2017 Galway International Arts Festival,the spectacular architectural build, is back this year.

French artist Olivier Grossetête is returning with The People Build, and the public will be encouraged to help him create two large-scale and highly ambitious structures solely from cardboard. It will take place from July 20 to 22 and is free.

Following last year’s success of his large-scale reconstruction of the Aula Maxima in Eyre Square, Grossetête, his team, and hundreds of volunteers will help transform cardboard boxes into two structures. The first is a new cardboard bridge at Waterside, which will be floated on boats, serving as a testimony to Galway’s River Corrib viaduct, once part of the famous Galway to Clifden railway. A second structure will replicate an iconic Galway building and will be erected on Eyre Square.

Both structures will be assembled on Friday July 20 and Saturday July 21 and as per last year, both will be demolished the day after on Sunday July 22.

Last year volunteers, children and grown-ups all joined forces in a massive celebratory demolition, which saw the cardboard building come tumbling down amid shrieks of joy and delight.

One participant said: “We just came along here and next thing this building started to appear. We just picked up a block and before we knew it, we were part of the construction team.” Another said: “It brings people of all ages together. Everyone wants to help and make each other feel like a family.”

Thousands of cardboard boxes are used in the construction, but 100 per cent is recycled, and Oranmore-based recycling company Walsh Waste & Recycling will again join forces with Galway International Arts Festival to ensure there is no unnecessary waste following the event.

It is estimated almost four tonnes of cardboard will be used across the two builds.

Managing director of Walsh Waste, Gerard Walsh says the event is a perfect fit for the company.

“After last year’s hugely successful The People Build on Eyre Square, we were thrilled to learn it will be returning and happening in two locations this year.

“This event is so closely aligned with our own business, and also with both ours and Galway International Arts Festival’s mutual goal of sustainability. We are really looking forward to helping and participating again this year.”

Almost 600 volunteers took part in 2017 and this year members of the public are invited to take part once again. Volunteers are needed to take part in workshops to transform the cardboard boxes into building materials. Under the supervision of Oliver Grossetête's team, volunteers will work to ensure each piece of the structure is ready for its debut. The workshops will take place from July 13-19.

The festival is also looking for volunteers to take part in the construction and demolition of the two builds. For more information about the event and to register to volunteer see https://www.giaf.ie/events/the-people-build

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