Creative Dundee

Get involved: Dundee Royal Arch

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On Saturday 28th May 1,200 cardboard boxes will be transformed by the public into a 4 storey high structure in the shape of Dundee’s historic Royal Arch before being toppled and trampled the following day.

Organisers of the free event are calling for hundreds of people to come to Slessor Gardens, the new green space at Dundee’s waterfront from 11am on Saturday 28 May to help build a  giant arch using only cardboard boxes and sticking tape.

“Standing at over 16 metres high and 16 metres wide, we need all the help we can get to lift the structure and tape the boxes into place. People can just come and go as they please but we need lots of people on site to help build it.

Children will be able to colour Royal Arch images which will be projected onto the Arch after dark and Abertay Historical Society will be there to tell the story of the original Royal Arch and giving away free copies of their new Royal Arch booklet.

Saturday’s event is expected to be finished by 2.30 pm and the site is open all afternoon for visitors.” said organiser Claire Dow.

On Sunday at 1pm, the cardboard Royal Arch will be lowered and trampled in an impressive demolition.


Co-organisers of the event, Dundee Institute of Architects have confirmed the free event is suitable for people of all ages to take part in and people are invited to come and go as they please over the 2 day event.

French artist Olivier Grossetete, responsible for helping design Peoples’ Towers all over the world will arrive in Dundee on Friday 27 May to work with several community groups, members of the public and architecture students to begin the process of transforming 14 palettes of pre-cut flat card into the 1,200 boxes needed to build the Arch.

Volunteers helping to build the boxes will have the opportunity to meet with Olivier Grossetete and his team and get an exclusive behind the scenes look at the design and construction plans for the Arch.

Anyone interested in helping to build the boxes in advance of the weekend event can find out more at

This is the first large-scale public event to take place at Slessor Gardens and is part of Festival of Architecture 2016 and Dundee’s Ignite Festival.

Dundee's new Slessor Gardens

Dundee’s new Slessor Gardens

Artist Olivier Grossetete said:

“This weekend we will revive a lost building, a historic symbol from Dundee’s past. Every Peoples’ Tower is a new challenge but this is the first time I will have created a structure from the Victorian era. The challenge is to make it as true to the original Arch as possible whilst simplifying it, so it can be built in the time we have available.”

Producer, Claire Dow said:

“Olivier’s People’s Towers are just spectacular, and our site in Slessor Gardens is the perfect setting to build something so monumental. The design is beautifully intricate and very close to the where the original Royal Arch was built. We’re all very excited to be a part of this amazing event after 6 months of planning.

“We can’t thank all the individuals and businesses enough for their support through the crowdfunding stage. We are so grateful to everybody who came forward to support us –particularly BAM construction and Gowrie Contracts, who are sponsoring the Build and Demolition days. We’ve also had funds from Arts and Business Scotland New Arts Sponsorship Grants, Creative Scotland, Dundee City Festival Trust, and an invaluable Ignite Sparks award from the Ignite Festival.”

Christine Palmer, President of the Dundee Institute of Architects said:

“DIA are delighted to be involved with this project as part of Festival of Architecture 2016, which will encourage people to think about Dundee’s heritage and built environment in an exciting and interactive way at a time of exciting change for the city.

Lord Provost Bob Duncan said:

“The Royal Arch is an important part of our history. We are already marking its significance at the Waterfront with four commemorative trees and slabs, engraved with historical information. I wish the project every success and I urge the whole of Dundee to get involved.”

Photo: Steve MacDougall, DC Thomson

Photo: Steve MacDougall, DC Thomson


Saturday 28 May – Build Day sponsored by BAM

10.00 am         1,200 cardboard boxes are moved from workshop (Castle Street) to Slessor Gardens

11.00 am         Event begins and public start to lift, tape and build as instructed.

Visitors can meet with Abertay Historical Society and pick up a free Royal Ach booklet ; Kids can colour in pictures of the Royal Ach which are to be projected onto the structure at night.

2.30 pm           The People’s Tower: Dundee’s Royal Arch is completed

2.30-5.30         Site stays open to public

5.30 pm           Site closed

10.00 pm         Projections

Sunday 29 May – Demolition Day sponsored by Gowrie Contracts

12.00 noon      Site opens

1.00 pm           Demolition – organisers will hold ropes to lower the structure (public are Public are invited to trample on the cardboard boxes.
3.00 pm           Cardboard is cleared away.

4.00 pm           Site cleared and closed.

The People’s Tower: Dundee’s Royal Arch Build Day is sponsored by BAM. Demolition Day is sponsored by Gowrie Contracts. BAM support was matched by Arts and Business New Sponsorship awards. Other funds came through a public crowdfunding campaign, Creative Scotland, Dundee Festival Trust, Ignite Dundee, Dundee City Council and Alexander Moncur Trust.

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