A designer draw as judges fail to agree on architecture prize

SCOTLAND'S most prestigious architectural prize has been shared for the first time, it was revealed last night.

A refurbished former stable block in the Castlemilk housing estate in Glasgow and a new Edinburgh University complex have been jointly named the nation's best building.

The Andrew Doolan award, the UK's richest architectural prize, was presented last night at a reception in the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, itself a previous winner of the 25,000 award, which is judged purely by architects.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The stable block in Castlemilk, which dates to the late 18th century, was in a "ruinous condition" when restoration plans were first explored in the 1990s.

Elder & Cannon Architects worked with the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and the Cassiltoun Housing Association to bring them back to life as a modern building.

Edinburgh University gave Bennetts Associates the task of transforming an ugly car park in the heart of its main campus in the south side of the city. It is now home to a multi-million-pound infomatics research centre.

Some 11 projects were shortlisted this year for the prize, which the late architect Andrew Doolan helped establish six years ago. He died suddenly in April 2004 and the award was renamed in his memory.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), which runs the awards, also revealed that a runner-up had been chosen for the first time: the new visitor centre at Culloden battlefield, designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects.

Other previous winners of the Doolan award include the Dance Base complex in Edinburgh's Grassmarket, a Maggie's Cancer Care centre in Inverness, and the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney.

Professor Andy MacMillan of Glasgow University, the chairman of the judging panel, said: "The judges were split right down the middle over these two buildings … We all thought it was the best decision to split the prize and help generate a real debate over what is Scotland's best building.

"The restoration of the Castlemilk stables are a very poetic use for an historic building which had fallen into decline and has really helped lift up this part of the estate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The university development has helped repair a lot of the damage done in this area over the decades."

Arnie Dunn, the president of the RIAS, added: "The quality and range of submissions for this year's award is testimony to the exceptional standard of Scottish architecture today.

"The winners are buildings of the highest standard and reflect two vital strands of contemporary Scottish architecture: the creative re-use of historic buildings and the huge importance of new buildings for tertiary education."

Linda Fabiani, the culture minister, who presented the awards last night, said: "That the judges were unable to choose between this year's joint winners is surely an indication of the tremendous design talent we are nurturing in Scotland."

Bristo fashion

EDINBURGH University's development, built on a former car park at Potterrow, created a new home for its school of infomatics, the previous one having been burned down in 2002. More than 500 computer scientists are based in the 42 million complex.

The judges said: "By completing the Bristo Square perimeter of the central campus, the buildings create a new enclosure, enhancing the collegiate feel of the area, while introducing new pedestrian routes through the heart of one of Scotland's most important educational establishments."

Restored with skill

THE stables block had previously been attached to the former Castlemilk House, demolished in the 1970s. The old stables were dilapidated before they were rescued by the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust. Though the faade was intact, its roof had collapsed.

The judges said: "Its restoration to the skilful designs of Elder and Cannon has not been about preserving the building in aspic as a museum piece but about creating a lively community focus, with offices for the housing association, other local organisations and a nursery."