Archers’ Hall on target as building projects hailed

The Archers' Hall development sparked objections from the public. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The Archers' Hall development sparked objections from the public. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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MAJOR building projects in the Capital – including the controversial Archers’ Hall development – have cleaned up at The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards.

Edinburgh projects scooped the top prize in four categories and had entries shortlisted in each of the other four remaining sections.

The honour for the Archers’ Hall came despite the original proposals by the Royal Company of Archers attracting more than 90 objections from the public. That led to the creation of a revised scheme to preserve the 19th-century Lodge, on Buccleuch Street, near the Meadows, and incorporate accommodation for 75 postgraduate students around it.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery was another winner, beating 50 of the country’s most impressive “built environment projects” to win the Project of the Year title and was also awarded the Building Conservation award.

Laura Hall, chair of RICS Scotland judging panel, said it was a unanimous decision because it created a “modern inspiring gallery through the restoration of a 120-year-old building”.

She said: “The building redesign provided a radical new gallery with distinctly modern interventions. Public space has been increased by 60 per cent and the circulation and accessibility has been improved in a manner that is both sympathetic and dynamic.”

Other winners of the awards held at the Balmoral Hotel were the Assembly Rooms and the Forth Bridge restoration.

Culture convener Councillor 
Richard Lewis said: “To be recognised by RICS in this way is testament to the success of the painstaking refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms, and reflects the important part this prestigious venue plays in the economic and cultural life of the city. It is a fantastic achievement and congratulations are due to everyone who has contributed to the Assembly Rooms’ success.

“In these tough economic times it’s crucial that we invest in our cultural and architectural infrastructure, and these wins show the strength of this investment and the benefits they are bringing to Edinburgh.”