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Glasgow's new practices: Ann Nisbet Studio

Studio ann portrait 2
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The AJ takes a look at Glasgow’s emerging architects, discovering how they have adapted and stayed motivated in a procurements system designed for big practices

Who are you?
The practice was founded by Ann Nisbet and has two full-time members of staff. We work with a network of collaborators and freelancers on a project-by-project basis.  

When did you set up?
August 2013. 

Newhouse of auchengree exterior web

Newhouse of auchengree exterior web

Source: Susan Castillo

Newhouse of Auchengree, North Ayrshire, by Ann Nisbet Studio

What was your breakthrough project and why?
Newhouse of Auchengree, a contemporary farmhouse in rural Ayrshire. It was the first major project completed by the practice, and in November it won the Glasgow Institute of Architects Supreme Award and Residential Award. It also recently won a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning for Placemaking. 

What are you currently working on?
Our focus tends to be on rural projects; we have several single dwellings and a small housing development. We have also developed a rural micro-home for a Scottish island; a two-storey house in North Ayrshire; three homes in Lochaber, in the Highlands; and a research project with a Glasgow-based social enterprise company. 

The prequalification levels required for public works are often so high it’s just not a feasible route for us

How hopeful are you about your prospects as a young practice in Glasgow? 
Glasgow is a great city to work from. Not only is it well located for the rural work throughout Scotland, it is a vibrant, political and energetic city full of activity, art and culture. 

What is the biggest challenge facing your practice?
In a small emerging practice, unless it’s an invited competition, the prequalification levels required for public works can often be so high that it’s just not a feasible route for us. It’s a challenge and a risk to dedicate the time and resources required to undertake tenders for public projects under the current system. 

How will you ensure you remain profitable?
As a small practice we are able to be nimble, allowing us to have a diverse range of work. Alongside working on rural housing and community projects, we’re also involved in research projects, installation and public art projects, and community build projects.

Which architects inspire your practice?
Brian Mackay-Lyons, Glenn Murcutt, Rick Joy and Olson Kundig. 

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