Scotland’s best buildings revealed at nation’s architectural Oscars

Dundee’s V&A museum, the transformation of a 200-year-old observatory in Edinburgh into an art gallery, the rebirth of a Charles Rennie Mackintosh-design tearoom in Glasgow and a futuristic new whisky attraction in Speyside have been named among Scotland’s ten best buildings.

V&A Dundee. Image: 
Kengo Kuma & Associates with Architects and James F Stephen Architects for Dundee City Council
V&A Dundee. Image: Kengo Kuma & Associates with Architects and James F Stephen Architects for Dundee City Council

A new home overlooking a ferry terminal on Skye, a primary school in Kelso, housing association offices in Glasgow and a new headquarters for the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service in Edinburgh were honoured in Scotland’s architectural Oscars.

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The winners were drawn from 82 entries to the annual awards run by the Royal Incorporation for Architects in Scotland, which will reveal an overall winner in October.

Previous winners of the Doolan Prize, the UK’s richest architectural honour, include the Scottish Parliament building, a ferry shelter on the Isle of Tiree, a nuclear archive complex in Wick and an extension of the world’s first Andrew Carnegie-funded library in his native Dunfermline.

More than half a million people visit Dundee’s new waterfront attraction, which was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, by the end of March, just over six months after its opening.

The judges hailed the V&A as “an example of the highest level of architectural ingenuity,” adding that it “simultaneously stimulates, engages and intrigues visitors.”

The new £140 Macallan Distillery and Visitor Centre, near Craigellachie, was praised as an exceptionally well resolved and ingenious fusion of architecture, whisky technology and impactful interior settings displaying the heritage of the Macallan brand.”

A new home for Edinburgh’s Collective Gallery and a purpose-built restaurant boasting views across the city, which were created at the site of the William Playfair-designed observatory complex on Calton Hill, is said to have produced “a number of bold, contemporary interventions which successfully achieve a unifying functional coherence with the sensitively restored historic buildings on this site of national significance.”

A project to restore and expand Glasgow’s original Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street, which date back to 1903, was hailed as “immaculate and captivating.”

Also recognised were a “cheerfully idiosyncratic” home designed for the owners of an airfield in Strathaven and a social housing development built on a “extremely steep and almost inaccessible” site in Inverness, which is said to have transformed and revitalised what was an all but abandoned no-go area of the city.”