Scotland's design watchdog has branded Aedas' proposals to extend and revamp Dumbarton Sheriff Court 'a missed opportunity'.
A report issued by Architecture + Design Scotland (A+DS) following a review of the £10 million scheme has raised a number of concerns about the design, which has just been submitted for planning.
The review panel was particularly critical of the level of 'sustainable design' and the severity of the exterior.
The report reads: 'We find the external treatment of the building rather austere at present. We suggest that the roof openings above the internal courtrooms could become more dynamic-and there is an opportunity to soften the impact of the building by a low maintenance, but bold, approach to landscaping.'
Work was originally expected to start on the five-court complex this summer and was pencilled in for completion in 2008.
During the review the watchdog also criticised the scheme's client, the Scottish Courts Service, for not being innovative enough in its 'approach to sustainable design'.
The panel suggested the project would 'benefit from further development' and that 'in terms of incorporating sustainable aspects into the design we would encourage the design team to explore these more fully.'
Aedas was unavailable for comment. by Richard Waite