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Scottish Bonanza as first ever RIAS Award winners named

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Only five of the 23 ‘brilliant’ buildings shortlisted by the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland (RIAS) have missed on winning one of its inaugural ‘standalone’ awards

It is the first time the RIAS has run its own Scotland-only awards programme - a move which was in part brought about by claims that the RIBA Awards and Stirling Prize were biased against schemes outside London (AJ 13.09.2011).

An incredible 18 of the schemes vying for ‘the single most important recognition of architectural achievement in Scotland’ were handed RIAS Awards (see full list with citations below). Among the lucky recipients were OMA’s Gartnavel Maggie’s Centre and

Unfortunately the judges, led by RIAS president Sholto Humphries, felt unable to give accolades to JM Architects’ Hillhead Primary School in Glasgow and Nicoll Russell Studios’ Hillcrest Housing Association HQ - although both had been shortlisted for last year’s Doolan Prize.

The other schemes which failed to win an award were: Robin Baker Architects’ Flanders Moss viewing tower; David Blaikie’s garden room in Edinburgh; and Gareth Hoskins’ Marlaw private house in Pollockshields.

Defending the generosity of the awards, RIAS secretary Neil Baxter said: ‘The only plea in mitigation is that we have had a double crop of entrants [for our inaugural awards], which effectively caught two years [of projects].

‘We expect fewer awards next year but I have to say all these schemes are pretty good.’

Intriguingly the RIBA only gave five regional awards to Scottish schemes.

Baxter added: ‘[The RIBA Award judging panel] rate what they rate and obviously we rate things differently. But we are quite relaxed about that.’

RIAS Award winners in full

Bogbain Mill, Lochussie by Maryburgh (budget confidential) 
Rural Design (Client: private)
‘This ingenious conversion of a rural mill creates a home within a landscaped setting which draws upon its industrial history to create a delightful contemporary living space. Existing walls create a series of sheltered garden courtyards. The plan is typically one room deep, with simple linear circulation. The existing fabric has been respected, incorporated, amended and extended without resorting to pastiche.’

Cape Cove, Shore Road, Helensburgh (£450k)   
Cameron Webster Architects (Client:private)
‘At the water’s edge, this home commands superb views across Loch Long. It rises from its natural rock foundations as an uncompromising and alluring work of modernity. The original plan has been completely reconfigured to create a large and sunny entrance hall. Kitchen and dining were moved upstairs and extended with full height frameless glazing. Simple materials and colours were used throughout.’

Corinthian Club, Glasgow (£4.5million)    
G1 Group (Client: G1 Group)
‘The major second phase of work to this superb historic building, a decade on from the original conservation project, has created bars, restaurants, a casino, a club and lettable conference suites of real opulence. New access stairs connect the ornate ‘Tellers Hall’ and the vaulted brick basement. Simple, clean, contemporary materials serve as a foil to the building’s historic fabric.’

Dundee House (£29.85million)       
Reiach and Hall Architects (Client: Dundee City Council)
‘Set within a previously run down part of the city centre, this important development transforms an historic printing works into a large administration and public services building. Behind the historic façade are seven storeys of modern office space. The City Council’s new headquarters symbolises Dundee’s aspirations to celebrate its industrial heritage and create appropriate new architecture which signals its vision.’

Fore Street, Glasgow (£1.5million)
Hypostyle Architects (Client: Whiteinch + Scotstoun Housing Association)
‘This new community sits within the embrace of the historic tenemental landscape. A new build 5-storey block of flats on Fore Street maintains the scale of the street. The backcourt comprises a series of 2-storey houses and cottage flats. Bright, welcoming and ingeniously woven into the existing fabric of the city, these new homes are a useful model for the future.’

Forth Valley College of Further and Higher Education, Alloa Campus (£12.3million)
Reiach and Hall Architects (Client: Forth Valley College of Further and Higher Education)
‘Within a wooded hilltop landscape close to Alloa town centre this new college is both inviting and stimulating. It is designed to encourage social interaction between learners and staff from different disciplines. The plan responds to pragmatic issues such as flat ground (for workshops and service yard) and safe vehicle access. Embracing views to the Ochils, this is a powerfully expressive new focus for the town.’

Grödians, Lerwick (£4.5million)
Richard Gibson Architects (Client: Hjatland Housing Association)
‘This carefully composed housing development, providing homes for over 100 people, combines a variety of differently sized buildings set at varying angles to the street. The use of colour contributes to the delivery of a strongly urban composition, unusual for this type of development. This careful yet engaging new addition to Shetland’s housing stock is understated but highly visually appealing, brightening the landscape and amenity of Lerwick.’

Heathfield Primary School, Ayr  (£3.7million)      
Holmes Miller (Client: South Ayrshire Council)
‘Combining an established school with a substantial new extension was a particular challenge. The redevelopment respects the scale of the original frontage, removes the clutter to the rear and meshes the existing building with a new dining hall and external courtyard. Simple elements deliver clean, crisp, elegant lines. The contemporary architectural appearance, contrasts with, yet complements, the original building, delivering an excellent environment for nurturing young minds.’

Heriot’s Centre for Sport & Exercise, Edinburgh (budget confidential)
LDN Architects (Client: George Heriot’s Trust)
‘The appearance of the building belies its innovative use of timber. Set within the existing school campus, this building provides state-of-the-art accommodation. The need for large volumes demanded careful handling of the building’s mass. Studio space on the first floor links directly with the Sports Hall. The timber lining gives the main spaces visual richness and a feeling of welcome throughout.’

House at Borreraig, Skye (£470,000)  
Dualchas Building Design (Client: private)
‘This new home is deceptively simple in form, a calm, contemplative space. The external timber ensures that the building does not intrude upon its natural setting. To keep the building low it consists of three separate elements: living, bedrooms and studio. The same restraint and reliance on natural materials is evident in the uncluttered interiors of Caithness stone and oak.’

Linlithgow Burgh Halls (£3.2million)
Malcolm Fraser Architects (Client: West Lothian Council)
‘This re-use of a key historic building, dating from 1668, brings new life and vitality. The halls have been revamped into community and visitor facilities – multi-use function spaces, tourist information, interpretation, café and education rooms. An airy, light-filled stair allows all elements to overlook and connect to each other with a café which flows out into the garden. Long neglected, the Burgh Halls are once more an asset for Linlithgow.”

Loch Leven Bird Hide, Fife (£34.000 including foundations)
Icosis Architects (Client: The Rural Access Committee for Kinross-shire)
‘This small, crafted structure is part hide, part bridge and part screening. The gaps between the boards reduce wind loading and restrict visual disruption for the birds. Structure and inner faces are stained dark, emphasising the horizontality of the external boards. For a very modest budget, this building cleverly addresses the needs of human visitors. Its raw, elemental form is an appropriate foil to the natural environment.’

Loch Leven Bird Hide, Fife (£34.000) by Icosis Architects (Client: The Rural Access Committee for Kinross-shire)

Source: Icosis Architects

Loch Leven Bird Hide, Fife (£34.000) by Icosis Architects (Client: The Rural Access Committee for Kinross-shire)

Maggie’s Gartnavel, Glasgow (£2.8 million)
OMA (Client: Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres Trust)
‘Maggie’s Centres provide practical and emotional support. They rely on exceptional architecture and innovative spaces to make people feel better. This single-level building, a ring of interlocking rooms, is close to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. The spaces feel casual but allow for privacy. Here the approach is about more modest external expression, embracing a courtyard garden to generate a place of gentle contemplation.’

Model ‘D’ House, Insch (£140,000 exclusive of siteworks)
Gokay Deveci Chartered Architect (Client: Sylvan Stuart Timber Engineers and Log Construction)
‘This alternative contemporary design draws upon the architectural language of traditional agricultural buildings. Large windows in the south façade take advantage of solar gain and maximise views. An external rain screen provides shading and privacy. This highly energy efficient home utilises its setting and natural daylight to radically reduce costs. The Model ‘D’ House is a model for affordable housing stock in the countryside.”

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (£47.4million)
Gareth Hoskins Architects (Client: National Museums Scotland)
‘Fully accessible with a welcoming new ground floor entrance, this adaptation is sensitive and intelligent. The National Museum of Scotland, designed by Captain Francis Fowke and opened in 1866, has been adapted, altered and extended throughout its long history. This project has opened up and expanded the gallery spaces, returning the building to its original grandeur. It integrates displays and architecture for a coherent visitor experience.”

Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh (£500,000)
McGregor Bowes + Haworth Tompkins (Client: Fruitmarket Gallery, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh World Heritage)
“Built between 1899 and 1902, this shortcut within Scotland’s multi-layered capital was long neglected. Works included masonry repairs, new leadwork, painting of grilles, cleaning glazed bricks, new iron gates and reglazing. The steps were resurfaced by artist Martin Creed with contrasting marbles from all over the world. The long climb is enlivened by the new steps and the structure is revealed as rich in delight.’

Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh (£500,000) McGregor Bowes + Haworth Tompkins (Client: Fruitmarket Gallery, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh World Heritage)

Source: Gautier Deblonde

Scotsman Steps

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (£11.5million) 
Page\Park Architects (National Galleries of Scotland)
‘This remarkable Sir Robert Rowand Anderson building had been much messed around with over the decades. The walk to the top was long and much potential gallery space was taken up by support functions. Two new openings have been created either side of the entrance vestibule, vertical circulation greatly enhanced by a large, glass lift and the remodelled entrance allows wheelchair access. This splendid restoration improves upon its original architect’s vision.’

Wester Coates House, Edinburgh (budget confidential)
Zone Architects (Client: private)
‘Set in a conservation area of Edinburgh, this new villa, on a tight site, utilises high quality natural materials and a very restrained external form to embrace high specification interiors infused with light. The stone cubic form of the house is split to allow light deep into the stairwell. The predominantly glazed south side of the building opens out to embrace the rear private garden.’


Previously the RIAS co-ordinated RIBA Awards for Scotland. However this year, for the first time the incorporation launched its own award scheme. Entries to these awards are also eligible for RIBA Awards for Scotland.
In order to simplify and improve the awards process in Scotland, the RIAS Council, in agreement with the RIBA, established a new,
‘one-stop’, submission process. Entries submitted are now eligible to win the new RIAS Awards, RIBA Awards for Scotland and RIBA Special Awards. Winners will also be eligible for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award and the RIBA Stirling Prize.

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