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Hoskins' National Museum of Scotland wins Doolan Prize 2011

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Gareth Hoskins Architects has won the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2011 with its £37 million overhaul of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

Last night (17 November), the ‘sensitive and intelligent adaptation’ of the 1860s museum was chosen as ‘the clear winner’ ahead of a 13-strong shortlist to scoop the £25,000 first prize.

The award is still the largest architectural jackpot in the UK.

The cheque and a specially commissioned gold-lined silver tumbler by internationally renowned Scottish jeweller, James Brent Ward was presented to the Hoskins team by Scotland’s cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop and Margaret Doolan - the late Andrew Doolan’s mother. 

Hyslop said: ‘The transformation of the National Museum of Scotland is truly breathtaking, making this project a worthy winner of the Award. Scotland has an international reputation for creativity and innovation, enhanced by the outstanding quality of Scottish architecture.

‘This excellence is demonstrated by the record number of schemes shortlisted for this year’s RIAS Doolan Award, which inspires ever-higher standards of design by celebrating and recognising the very best of architecture in Scotland.’

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, by Gareth Hoskins Architects

Source: Andrew Lee

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, by Gareth Hoskins Architects

The full judges citation for the winning project:

‘Prior to its refurbishment the Museum, opened in 1866, had been adapted and extended through the decades. Accretions, partitions and obstructions compromised the building and the enjoyment of its nationally important collections. The completion of the second phase of the masterplan has expanded the gallery spaces, restored much of the original architect’s intent and significantly improved access and visitor facilities.

This transformed museum now fully merits its national epithet

‘The big moves are the opening up of the façade to create new accessible street level entrances, the excavation of the existing basement stores area to form a new entrance hall with shop and café and new staircases and lifts to the refurbished “grand gallery”.

‘Further opening up of previously partitioned-off routes, new escalators and the reclamation of long vistas draws visitors up and around the dramatic upper galleries. The original spatial quality of the building has been brilliantly recovered with a skilful play of light and movement through its spaces.

‘All this is achieved with such subtlety that even some expert critics have failed to fully comprehend the care which has gone into its execution. This transformed museum now fully merits its national epithet. This sensitive and intelligent adaptation enhances both the building and the objects displayed within it.’

Read the AJ’s recent building study of the museum here (AJ 01.09.2011).

Full shortlist and judges’ citations

10 Pearce Street, Govan by Austin-Smith: Lord
‘This project breaks the mould for housing association developments. Part of the regeneration of central Govan, it sets a new standard.’

The Brochs of Coigach by SBA Architects
‘In significant contrast to the trend for kit housing, these homes blend into their setting, built into the landscape with great care.’

Centre for the Scottish War Blinded by Page\Park Architects
‘The legible plan is crucially important to the building’s users but the spaces within are far removed from the institutional norm.’

Dundee House by Reiach and Hall Architects
‘The adaptation of this large existing building is imaginative and engaging, giving the Council a very friendly public face.’

Glentress Peel Visitor Centre by Gaia Architects
‘The three buildings on this site create new public, staff, research and educational facilities which are wholly appropriate to their special rural setting.’

Grödians by Richard Gibson Architects
‘A careful yet engaging new addition to the Lerwick landscape, understated in form but highly appealing – these new homes brighten the landscape.’

Hillcrest Housing Association HQ by Nicoll Russell Studios
‘An impressive achievement for the budget, this new building is human in scale and an inspiring workplace.’

Hillhead Primary School by JM Architects
‘Combining a school with publicly accessible facilities, this building is very contemporary and very welcoming.’

The Houl by Simon Winstanley Architects
‘Demanding some of Scotland’s finest views, this unique sustainable home utilises traditional materials with great dexterity.’

Linlithgow Burgh Halls by Malcolm Fraser Architects
‘Crucially important to the town, this re-use of a key historic building brings new life and vitality – an inspiring dialogue with the building’s history.’

Phoenix Flowers by 7N Architects and RankinFraser Landscape Architecture
‘This highly unusual work of architecture enlivens a previously unpleasant public space and infuses it with joy.’

University of Edinburgh Business School by LDN Architects
‘The adaptation and extension of this important existing building is delivered with great care. However the interventions have their own distinct personality.’

Top row from left to right: Gordon Gibb (Gareth Hoskins Architects), Drew Metcalfe (National Museums of Scotland) and Chris Coleman-Smith (Gareth Hoskins Architects). Bottom Row from left to right: Fiona Hyslop MSP, Gordon Rintoul (National Museums of Sc

Top row from left to right: Gordon Gibb (Gareth Hoskins Architects), Drew Metcalfe (National Museums of Scotland) and Chris Coleman-Smith (Gareth Hoskins Architects). Bottom Row from left to right: Fiona Hyslop MSP, Gordon Rintoul (National Museums of Scotland), Gareth Hoskins (Gareth Hoskins Architects) and Sholto Humphries (President of RIAS).

The building was selected from a strong shortlist which represented a comprehensive range of building types. The judges felt that seven projects merit a Special Mention. These are:

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