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Scotland's deputy minister for tourism, sport and culture, Elaine Murray, opened the RIAS convention. In her address, she highlighted the importance of stimulating debate and raising awareness as a key priority of Scotland's architecture policy, which was launched last autumn.

Murray said the theme of the convention, invention and intervention, was particularly relevant to architecture in Scotland. 'The way in which new buildings relate to our historic environment is critical to maintaining and enhancing Scotland's rich and diverse urban and rural landscapes, 'she said. She restated the executive's commitment to The Lighthouse architecture centre in Glasgow - 'key partner' in its strategy for architecture: 'The centre has a growing international standing, 'she said, 'and we are fortunate in Scotland to have such high quality expertise and facilities available to us.'

The Lighthouse is currently implementing a three-year national programme, raising awareness of the importance of good building design. Murray added: 'Our policy objectives in architecture rely on the involvement, commitment and cooperation of all those with an interest in the built environment. Much work has already been done and the policy is already showing an impact, but these are only the first steps in an ongoing process.

'We all have a part to play in ensuring that our physical environment is given the importance it deserves. Architecture has a central role to play in shaping a sense of community and civic pride in the New Scotland.'

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