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AJ Architecture Awards 2018: Heritage Project of the Year

The Borders Distillery by Gray Macpherson Architects has taken top honours in the heritage category of the 2018 AJ Architecture Awards

Commissioned by the Three Stills Company, this project for a new distillery and visitor centre in the Scottish Borders was judged to offer a highly sophisticated and intelligent answering of the brief, combined with a commendable modesty in the means of its delivery. 

The project is a retrofit of a Category C-listed former electricity works, with the old street-side administration buildings converted into the distillery offices and visitor centre and the top-lit industrial sheds to the rear now housing the stills. 

The project sets a standard for retrofit, showing both an impressively crafted understanding of the existing building and marrying this with elements of new construction. It was praised as ‘an impressive, process-driven, bricolage-type approach’ to retrofit, that slowly reveals itself as you go around in its detailing and rich textures. 

Gray Macpherson Architects was commended for the clarity in its design and the depth of thought in its response. 

It was the most economical project on the shortlist, realised at an impressively low cost per square metre, yet one, the judges said, that was ‘so much more than the sum of its parts’. 

The architects here were a true partner to their client and the outcome of this project is a testament to what a great client/architect relationship can produce. 

Highly Commended

Salters’ Hall by De Metz Forbes Knight Architects

DMFK Salters Hall 01

DMFK Salters Hall 01

Likened to a ‘Modernist Arts and Crafts building’, this project was commended for being materially superb. The judges said it was a crafted exemplar of refurbishment and extension, offering a real understanding of the original building, and dealt with a huge range of constraints and significant complexity in the process. 


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