Scotland's Building of the Year and King Charles' Grand Design point way to a more sustainable future – Scotsman comment

As contrasts go, this one is particularly sharp. Where once there was a rubbish dump now stands Scotland’s Building of the Year.

Moxon Architects won the Doolan Prize for architecture for their own Quarry Studios in the Cairngorms National Park (Picture: Tim Soar)
Moxon Architects won the Doolan Prize for architecture for their own Quarry Studios in the Cairngorms National Park (Picture: Tim Soar)

Moxon Architects has won the £10,000 Dooland Prize for their own new Scottish headquarters on the outskirts of Crathie on Deeside. Judges praised its “highly sustainable” design “not only in terms of its carbon footprint and support for local biodiversity, but also in how it acts as a catalyst for supporting local businesses and its community”. In addition to the architects’ studio, there is a community cafe.

The low-energy steel-and-timber frame building was designed to minimise its impact on the surrounding site of special scientific interest, with a wetland area created nearby and new trees planted as part of the project. Chris Stewart, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which awards the annual title, said Moxon had found ways to “regenerate what was brownfield back into the landscape while creating a community resource...”

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This evening, STV will broadcast a documentary, A Royal Grand Design, about King Charles’s decade-long efforts to restore the 18th century Dumfries house in Ayrshire, bringing its walled garden back to life and creating a horticultural centre, cookery school, adventure playground and more.

Restoration, repair, sustainability and conservation are all rather old-fashioned ideas that have come back in vogue for a number of reasons, including the need to reduce carbon emissions and stop the shocking degradation of nature.

By using brownfield sites wherever possible and saving old buildings from ruin, it is possible to create ‘new’ developments and boost economic growth without causing unnecessary harm. What’s not to like?

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