Scottish Building News: Architecture in Scotland

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Scottish Architecture News

New Architecture Developments + Buildings in Scotland – Built Environment + Architects Updates

Scottish Buildings News

This page contains a selection of major Scottish Architecture News, with projects arranged chronologically, latest first. Each architecture news item links to an individual project page. We’ve selected what we feel are the key Scottish Building News stories.

The focus is on contemporary Scottish buildings but we do post on changes to major traditional buildings in Scotland.

Scottish Architecture News 2017

Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list

19 Sep 2017
Inverness Justice Centre Building News
Design: Reiach and Hall, Architects
Inverness Justice Centre Building
image courtesy of architects

Scottish Justice Centre Building News
Work set to start after Highland Council gives updated design approval. Preparations to build Scotland’s first purpose-built Justice Centre in Inverness have taken another step forward after Highland Council approved the improved design.

Builders urge Scottish Government to guard against housing complacency
13 Sep 2017 – Scotland’s home building industry is urging the Scottish Government to guard against complacency over housing as new statistics show a marginal increase of just 251 homes (one per cent) completed in 2016-17 compared to the year previous.

Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, said:

“Given the chronic undersupply of housing in Scotland, any form of increase is obviously welcome but closer scrutiny of the figures shows serious systemic issues which appear to be being downplayed.

“The fact of the matter is that an additional 251 new homes doesn’t even begin to address the scale of Scotland’s housing crisis, and whilst affordable housing starts might be up, private sector numbers are down by nine per cent at their lowest level in three years. This is extremely worrying, not just in terms of its impact on the majority of Scots who aspire to own their homes but also in terms of the consequences for jobs, investment and economic growth.

“Unless there is a considered look at the big picture, the inter-dependences between sectors fully recognised and a whole system approach adopted, there must be serious doubt about the achievability of any party’s housing targets.

“The Housing Minister states that he stands ready to discuss solutions to stimulate private sector growth. These latest figures underline that now is the time for action if we are to safeguard our country’s social well-being and future prosperity.”

Home building boss wins CEO of the Year at the Scottish Women’s Awards
1 Sep 2017 – The boss of trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS), Nicola Barclay, won CEO of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Women’s Awards in Glasgow on Wednesday night.

Approaching her second year in post as Chief Executive, Nicola is focused on addressing Scotland’s housing crisis by creating the conditions that are necessary for increasing the delivery of new homes. With direct responsibility for managing the HFS secretariat, delivering business strategy and meeting the wide-ranging needs of some 200 member companies, she said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have been recognised by the Scottish Women’s Awards. As a female leader in what is still very much a male-dominated industry, it is essential other women, particularly those of the younger generation, know that they can achieve in any field they choose.

“However, it remains a juggling act for many of us and that is why it is so important that we support each other and create the platform for even more brilliant women to shine.”

Previously Principal Planning Advisor and Director of Planning at HFS before becoming Chief Executive, Nicola’s 20 years’ experience also includes periods working with Scottish Futures Trust as well as a number of HFS member companies.

A Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Nicola is a graduate of Heriot-Watt University and an active member of Women in Property. She also currently sits on the Scottish Government’s Financial Innovation Advisory and Joint Housing Policy & Delivery Groups, the CITB Scotland Committee, NHBC Scottish committee and the Consumer Code for Home Builders’ Board.

In addition, Nicola has formed a charity partnership between HFS and Habitat for Humanity Great Britain, travelling to India in January 2017 to work on a build for a family within a rural tribal community – an experience she says will stay with her forever.

Doors Open Days in Scotland – Favourite Buildings
29 Aug 2017 – To celebrate the launch of Doors Open Days 2017 and its own 50th anniversary, the Scottish Civic Trust has invited writers, artists, architects, academics and members of the public to nominate their favourite Scottish door:
Doors Open Days in Scotland

The Mill Quarter, Perth
29 Aug 2017 – Expresso Property Ltd has announced that it has concluded missives on The Mill Quarter site, a brand new landmark mixed leisure scheme with residential apartments. The scheme will be a catalyst for economic change in Perth and will significantly transform the City’s visitor destination offer on completion. Construction works are due to commence in 2018 with works due for completion in summer 2019.

The Mill Quarter Perth Building
image from architect

Mill Quarter is a new leisure hub at the heart of the City, comprising a state of the art multi-screen cinema: a mix of bars; restaurants and speciality shops, a 205 space multi-storey car park and 58 new apartments.
During the construction phase, the scheme will support 200 jobs, (107 direct construction jobs and 93 indirect supplier jobs), and will have an end investment value of £30m, creating around 126 new jobs in Perth on completion. The scheme has been designed by Holmes Miller Architects.

Nick Robinson of Expresso Property the developer of The Mill Quarter commented, “We are delighted to announce we have concluded missives for The Mill Quarter site from Perth and Kinross Council. The next stage is to obtain planning and we hope to apply shortly in the hope that construction works will begin in the first half of 2018.”

Stephen Hampshire of Expresso Property said, “With the support of Perth and Kinross Council, Invest in Perth and designers of the scheme Holmes Miller Architects, we are pleased to be providing this new landmark leisure hub and also to play our part in creating over 300 jobs. The Mill Quarter development is a catalyst for change that will drive Perth’s economic growth and give the City’s residents a brand new leisure destination to be proud of”.

Councillor Ian Campbell, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “The Mill Quarter development is an exciting opportunity to develop and enhance Perth’s leisure offering for residents and visitors, and I’m pleased to see the project reach this milestone. Expresso Property has identified the city as a positive location for growth and investment, and this sends out an important signal to existing and potential investors that Perth is the place to be.”

For more information on developments by Expresso Property, please visit www.expressoproperty.co.uk

Mosaic Architecture + Design News
Mosaic Architecture + Design news
photo from architects office
28 Aug 2017 – Mosaic Architecture + Design, one of Scotland’s most experienced practices, has acquired Burnet Bell (Glasgow’s second oldest architectural practice, dating back to 1878) for an undisclosed sum, boosting its staff numbers to 20.

The acquisition adds Glasgow School of Art, St. Aloysius’ College and St. Columba’s School amongst others to Mosaic’s burgeoning client portfolio and enhances its offering of consultancy services, which includes architecture, interior design, masterplanning, to a range of sectors, such as education, residential care and hospitality.

Perth City Hall Building Renovation
Perth City Hall interior renovation by Mecanoo
image courtesy of architects office
Perth City Hall Building Renovation
27 Aug 2017 – The category B-listed building will be transformed into a cultural facility with exhibition spaces, learning suite, café and retail space.

Springfield Properties News
22 Aug 2017 – Springfield Properties, a leading housebuilder focused on Scotland offering private and affordable housing, announces its full year results for the year ended 31 May 2017.

Affordable Housing

Springfield has achieved a solid track record since entering the affordable housing market in 2002. This part of the Group’s business has contracted revenues and low capital exposure.

Over the years the group have increasingly become a trusted partner of local authorities as they steadily increase the number of affordable homes built and handed over. One of the main aims of the company over the past two years has been to increase the size of the affordable housing business. This year the group have built 183 affordable homes, up 91% from 2015/2016. This brings the number of affordable homes built to date to over 1,500 homes, and gives the firm approximately 4% share of the affordable housing market in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has allocated £3.2 billion to build 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this parliament. This is a massive increase from the 30,000 target of the last five years. The firm’s land buying and planning team have been busy securing land to help meet this target and expect to see positive results from this activity start to feed through into the accounts next year. The company have strong relationships with 12 local authorities and housing associations and are negotiating with seven more. These relationships will be instrumental in reaching the firm’s target to double turnover in affordable housing over the next two years.

In the 2017/2018 year, the focus will continue to be to progress five villages and bring those most advanced towards completion.

Perth City Hall Competition
13 + 10 Aug 2017 – Mecanoo Architects become Perth & Kinross Council’s preferred partner to bring forward a transformation of the historic Perth City Hall following an international design competition after winning the most support during a public engagement exercise.

Seeing off four other shortlisted teams Mecanoo will now be tasked with overhauling the current attraction and surrounding public realm to create a £20m museum.

Perth City Hall Competition Winner

Buildings to Help Power Offishore Wind Faerm for SSE
Wick Harbour Buildings
image courtesy of architects
7 Aug 2017 – Historical maritime buildings in the harbour of Wick in Caithness, Scotland, will be brought back into operation when renovated to act as the hub for one of the largest new offshore wind farms in the UK.
Work is well underway to build the £2.6 billion, 84 turbine offshore wind farm in the outer Moray Firth. Designed by world famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford in 1807, the conservation of the onshore maritime buildings will play a key part in generating 588MW of sustainable energy from the wind farm to go into the grid.

More info at Pick Everard Architects

Ayr Academy Building
Ayr Academy Building
photo courtesy of developer
7 Aug – The new £25m Ayr Academy secondary school, built by Keir Construction and delivered by construction and infrastructure-focused partnership hub South West on behalf of South Ayrshire Council, is set to open when the school summer holidays end later in August.

Edinburgh’s Ross Pavilion Competition Winner
Ross Pavilion wHY
image courtesy of architects
2 Aug – An architects office based in Los Angeles wins this important international architecture competition in the heart of the Scottish capital city.

The L.A. architecture studio beat off competition from 125 teams from 22 countries to design the £25m project to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens.

Full design team: wHY, GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth with Alan Cumming, Aaron Hicklin, Beatrice Colin, Peter Ross, Alison Watson and Adrian Turpin:

wHY architecture – Ross Pavilion Competition Winner

Rest and Be Thankful Motorsport Centre
22 Jul – 17 Sep 2017 Level Two, The Lighthouse, Glasgow

The Rest and be Thankful is known throughout the motorsport world as a venue of international significance. This famous road in the south of Argyll and Bute, connecting the western shore of Loch Lomond to the Kintyre peninsula.
KennedyTwaddle Architects has designed a multi-purpose building that will celebrate Scottish motorsports heritage:
Rest and Be Thankful Motorsport Centre
image courtesy of architects

Pair of Glasgow’s iconic buildings to get new uses
Glasgow Colleges of Building & Printing
photo from wylie shanks architects
26 Jul – Plans for the Metropolitan Tower, known to generations as the College of Building and Printing and which can been seen from all of the city, will be on public display on Saturday 29 July. The exhibition will be open between 10.30am and 4pm that day in the foyer of the Metropolitan Tower.

Also on display at that exhibition will be the plans for the sister building on Cathedral Street – the Charles Oakley Building.

Metropolitan Tower Glasgow

Ripple Retreat Building
22 Jul – Ripple Retreat designed by Edinburgh architects Kettle Collective has recently opened. The respite house located in The Trossachs is for young people with cancer and their families.

Ripple Retreat Scotland by Kettle Collective

The serene £1million retreat is placed on the southern bank of Loch Venachar, Callander.

Engineers Cundall undertook dynamic thermal modelling of the building to ascertain the potential thermal comfort performance of the spaces using natural ventilation via external window openings.

Ayr Riverside Development, South West Scotland
Architects: Keppie Design ; Masterplan by Niall McLaughlin Architects
Ayr Riverside Office Development | www.e-architect.co.uk
image courtesy of architects

Ayr Riverside Office Buildings
21 Jul – Construction work is due to start early in 2018 on a new £10m Ayr Riverside Office Development following an agreement to award the construction contract to Tier 1 contractor, Morgan Sindall.

RIAS/Saint-Gobain Emerging Architect Award
Scottish Waterski Centre Dunfermline Buildng | www.e-architect.co.uk
photos © David Barbour
24 + 18 Jul – The inaugural RIAS/Saint-Gobain Emerging Architect Award recognises the crucial role architects play in delivering a better world and encourages the great architects of the future at the outset of their careers.

This year, the award went to TAP Architecture, recognising two innovative and technically challenging projects: the Aerial Adventures, East Kilbride, and the Scottish National Waterski Centre, Dunfermline.

A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards 2017
18 Jul – Fifteen student projects were presented at a special event held in Edinburgh on Thursday 13 July.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Rowand Anderson Silver Medal for best 5th year student:
Paschalis Kyrtsopoulis, University of Strathclyde

Architecture and Design Scotland Award for Best 3rd Year Student:
Naomi Rubbra, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Architecture and Design Scotland Urban Design Award:
Hannah Cattanach, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Architecture and Design Scotland Sustainable Design Award:
Naomi Rubbra, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Andy MacMillan Drawing Award:
Robert Wightman, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards 2017

Cumbernauld Community Campus
Cumbernauld Community Campus Building Theatre Wing
image courtesy of developers
Cumbernauld Community Campus Building
12 Jul – An agreement to build a new £34.5m Cumbernauld Community Campus which will bring together a purpose-built high school and a new theatre and arts venue was reached on Thursday 29th June.

The camous will be home to a purpose-built secondary education facility accommodating 950 students following the amalgamation during the 2014/15 school session of Cumbernauld and Abronhill High Schools.

HM The Queen Visits Kelpie Sculptures at Helix Falkirk
8 Jul – The Queen has unveiled a plaque officially naming Scotland’s newest section of canal after her. The canal was built as part of the £43m Helix project near Falkirk, which includes the famous Kelpies sculptures:

The Queen Visits Kelpie Sculptures at Helix Falkirk

The Custom House, Greenock’s Jewel in the Crown, opens its doors to global business
7 Jul – A Georgian architectural masterpiece in one of the most dramatic locations in Scotland has been restored to its former glory. The building was originally designed by celebrated Scottish architect William Burns.
Custom House Greenock Building | www.e-architect.co.uk
photo © mcateer photograph
Custom House Greenock Building

A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards 2017
4 Jul 2017 – The Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS) and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Scottish Student Awards for Architecture showcase and celebrate the best of Scotland’s emerging talent. This event takes place on 13th July at Cafe Camino in Edinburgh to see presentations from this years nominated students.

In 2017, for the first time, judging will take place at a public event which has been coined ‘Chiff-Chaff’ after the little bird whose song is a short series of repeated notes. During the Chiff-Chaff each of the 15 students will have 5 minutes to present their own work to the judging panel and audience. Awards will be given for the following categories:

RIAS Rowand Anderson Silver Medal for Best 5th Year Student
A&DS Award for Best 3rd Year Student
A&DS Urban Design Award
A&DS Sustainable Design Award
RIAS Andy MacMillan Drawing Award

The awards give an opportunity to see the creativity and vision of Scotland’s future architects and emphasises current trends in architectural education. If you are looking for a Part I or Part II graduate to join your office this is an ideal opportunity to see some of the best graduates from all 5 Scottish schools of architecture in one place.

The 2017 Andy MacMillan Memorial Lecture will be given by our guest judge Sunand Prasad of Penoyre Prasad Architects and will focus on his recent work and architectural philosophy.

The Prize Giving Ceremony will follow the lecture and conclude the evening at 7.30pm.

For more information and booking:
A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards 2017

Help to Buy provides £1bn economic boost as 10,000 households purchase a new home

2 July 2017 – The number of households that have purchased a new home through the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy shared equity scheme has topped ten thousand, according to latest figures.

The scheme, which means buyers can purchase a new home with only a five per cent deposit, saw a total of 2,370 sales during 2016/17. This takes the overall number of transactions since the introduction of Help to Buy (Scotland) in 2013 over the ten thousand mark – supporting thousands of jobs and contributing £1bn in Gross Value Added to the economy.

Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, said:

“The fact that over 10,000 households have benefited from Help to Buy is a clear demonstration of both the scheme’s success and the aspiration of Scots to own their own home. The scheme is also helping to relieve pressure on the public sector with around five per cent of purchasers having moved from social rented housing and five per cent having been on a social housing waiting list.

“With current housing completions still over 36 per cent down on pre-recession levels, Help to Buy (Scotland) has been absolutely crucial in providing confidence and certainty for customers as well as builders in terms of planning and investment decisions.

“Above all, however, these figures illustrate the vital role home building has to play not only in terms of Scotland’s social wellbeing but also its economic success.”

Housing and Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“I am pleased that, along with our scheme partners, the Scottish Government has so far been able to help over 10,000 households to access an affordable new build home through Help to Buy (Scotland).

“This has helped boost the economy and it’s great to see that we’ve managed to help younger people, with half of purchasers under aged 30 or under, to support so many first time buyers and enable people to move from social housing and from waiting lists into sustainable home ownership.”

University of Edinburgh Student Centre
University of Edinburgh Student Centre Building
image courtesy of architects

27 Jun – Edinburgh University has unveiled plans designed by Glasgow’s Page\Park Architects for a radical extension to Teviot Row House, billed as the world’s oldest purpose-built student union, under a £75m modernization plan, report urban realm.

University of Edinburgh Student Centre Building

University of St Andrews Music Centre Building News
27 Jun – The University of St Andrews has finalised plans for an £8m music centre designed by architects Flanagan Lawrence. It is located at Queen’s Terrace and work could begin by the end of the year.

University of St Andrews Music Centre building design
images courtesy of architects

Conceived to complete the historic St Mary’s Quadrangle, replacing an area given over to temporary buildings and a car park, the new school will include rehearsal and teaching spaces as well as a studio, recording suite and library.

University of St Andrews Music Centre building design

Edinburgh School Building Investigation
22 + 21 Jun – CIOB announces Commission of Past Presidents to investigate build quality

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), in light of the report into the defects that led to the closure of 17 schools in Edinburgh earlier this year and subsequent events, announced the formation of a Commission of Past Presidents to investigate the issue of build quality in the construction industry, and what needs to be done to address it.

The Commission will consider what steps the CIOB needs to take to address the already identified issues around management and supervision, the importance for our education framework, and whether there are further steps the industry can take to contribute to improving build quality.

Edinburgh School Buildings

Inverness Justice Centre
Inverness Justice Centre Building design
image courtesy of architects
19 Jun – The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service have brought forward revised plans for a new Inverness Justice Centre, building upon the initial concept conceived by Reiach and Hall Architects, Edinburgh.

The updated design rationalizes accommodation and provides a new public space as well as improving access by car and will be placed on public display in the magnus Room of the Royal Highland Hotel between 15:00 and 19:00 on 22 June.

RIAS Awards 2017 Winners
16 Jun – At its Awards Dinner in Edinburgh, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) announced 12 winners for its 2017 Awards, representing the very best of current Scottish architecture. The judging panel was Ole Wiig FRIAS, Lorraine Landels Hon FRIAS, Stuart McKnight RIAS RIBA (representing the Royal Institute of British Architects) andKaren Anderson FRIAS (Timber Award).

Read more at RIAS Awards 2017 News

Perth City Hall Building Designs
15 Jun – Architects shortlisted designs exhibition for Perth City Hall redevelopment as cultural attraction: Mecanoo, Richard Murphy Architects, Hoskins Architects, Austin Smith Lord and LDN. enabling the public to have their say on initial concept designs.

Read more at Perth City Hall Shortlisted Design News

The Engine Shed Announces New Building Conservation Diploma
9 Jun – Historic Environment Scotland’s Engine Shed has launched its Advanced Diploma Course in Technical Building Conservation, the first of its kind.

Aimed at those with experience in the built heritage sector and interested in developing their career within building conservation, the new postgraduate course will be taught at the Engine Shed by in-house experts from Historic Environment Scotland and other leading professionals from around the UK and abroad.

The 10-month programme will begin in August 2017 and offers a unique proposition to students due to the high number of teaching hours they will receive from course leaders and lecturers. This will be enhanced with hands-on craft demonstrations, laboratory work, studio exercises in 3D digital documentation techniques and regular field trips to active projects around the HES estate.

The course seeks to raise standards in the sector by focusing on technical aspects of traditional materials which has become less of a focus in other training programmes and combining this with learning around conservation science and the latest digital documentation techniques and technologies.

Postgraduate Course Manager for Historic Environment Scotland, Gordon Urquhart, said: “The introduction of this course marks a significant new chapter for Scotland and the international conservation sector. We want to raise standards in caring for our built heritage and demonstrate the continuing cultural and economic relevance of traditional buildings, materials and skills. Scotland has world class expertise in many of these topics and we will provide unique access to them. This course sits at the heart of the Engine Shed offer.”

The postgraduate level qualification is designed to provide comprehensive training for a new generation of heritage professionals, as well as enhancing expertise and skills of experienced conversation practitioners.

Deadline for applications to the course is 31st July 2017 with only 15 places available in its first-year applicants are encouraged to apply early. On completion of the four Units, students will receive a diploma certified by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and issued by Forth Valley College. The course is designed to allow practising professionals to attend classes on a part-time basis and / or select modules they wish to complete as part of their continuing professional development.

In addition to the new Advanced Diploma, the Engine Shed will also run a week-long Conservation Summer School beginning Monday 12th June. The course will provide an introduction to building conservation and traditional building materials and skills through a mix of talks, workshops, field trips and hands-on activities. Targeted at home owners and professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge, tickets are priced at £150 for the day or £550 for the full week of tuition.

Opening in 2017, the Engine Shed will create and deliver educational resources and training on traditional building skills and materials for those in the industry as well as a fun and inspiring space for schools, local people, and visitors to get involved with building conservation through activities, exhibitions, and a jam-packed events programme.

For more information on the summer school, please visit www.engineshed.org or to register your interest in the advanced diploma contact Gordon Urquhart at Gordon.urquhart@hes.scot or visit the Engine Shed website.

Scottish Design Awards Winners
28 + 26 May – e-architect attended this event.

Key winners on the night were:

Grand Prix:
ORIAM – Scotland’s Performance Centre by Reiach and Hall Architects

Chairman’s Award:
Culardoch Shieling by Moxon Architects Ltd

Practice of the Year:
Reiach and Hall Architects

See the full list at Scottish Design Awards News

The price of not buying new? It could be as much as £50,000!

15 May 2017 – New research carried out by the home building industry has found that the cost of upgrading an older property to the same standard as a new build home could be as much as £50,000. The publication of the data comes at the start of this year’s New Homes Week (15-21 May) which aims to highlight the many benefits for consumers of buying a new build home.

From living in an energy efficient home that could save you hundreds of pounds on your utility bills each year, to the brand-new fixtures and fittings that come as standard, buying a new build home offers many advantages when compared to buying an older property.

The research looked at the work that might have to be carried out when people move into an older home, and what would have to be done to a home to bring it up to the standards of a new property which also comes with a warranty protecting the buyer from liability on structural problems within the first 10 years.  Whether it’s the price of buying and fitting a new kitchen (£7,900) or having a house rewired (£8,850), the costs for people moving into an older home can quickly mount up.

For a homeowner who wants to get the same standard of finish and functionality they could expect from a new build home, the cost could be up to £51,643. This includes paying out for:

  • Kitchen – £7,900
  • Bathroom – £3,800
  • Central heating – £6,185
  • Wiring – £8,850
  • Plastering – £5,240
  • Decorating – £2,500
  • Flooring – £2,628
  • Insulation – £775
  • Windows and doors – £4,900
  • Roofing – £4,000
  • Guttering – £690
  • External rendering – £4,175

And the savings continue: while just 26% of second hand homes achieve an energy efficiency rating of A to C, 94% of homes built in 2016 could boast such standards.

Commenting on the figures, Nicola Barclay,  Chief Executive  of Homes for Scotland, said:

“Whether you are starting out on the housing ladder, upgrading with a growing family or downsizing after children have left the nest, the new build market offers the widest possible range of options to suit every stage of your housing journey.

“New homes also offer important benefits second-hand homes simply can’t match.  As well as being built to suit modern lifestyle requirements and providing the peace of mind of a ten year warranty and protection of the Consumer Code for Home Builders, they can also help save buyers a lot of money and stressful upgrading as today’s report shows.”

Download report “Avoid the Money pit – the cost of upgrading old to new”

Orkney Research + Innovation Campus
Orkney Research + Innovation Campus Building
image courtesy of architects
Orkney Research + Innovation Campus Building
5 May – Threesixty Architecture have been appointed for the redevelopment of the old Academy and former Primary School of Stromness.

Scottish Home Improvement figures fall further behind the rest of Great Britain
25 Apr – As many households undertook a spring clean over Easter, home improvement figures within Scotland however still decreased in popularity across 2016, the only region or country to do so in Great Britain, falling by 4 per cent.

Published today, the ‘Home Improvers of Great Britain 2017’ report, compiled by construction industry analysts Barbour ABI in collaboration with the Federation of Master Builders, shows that for every one-hundred private homes, Scotland had on average 1.1 home improvement applications in 2016. East Lothian was the leading district in the region with 2.0, resulting in a 6 per cent increase.

East Lothian, even as the leading district for home improvement in Scotland, is only just on par with the proportion of homeowners submitting planning applications for home improvements in Great Britain. There are of course bright spots in the figures, with solid rises in home improvement applications for Fife and Perth & Kinross, both now in the top five of the 2016 league table.

At the other end of the spectrum of the Barbour ABI league table, Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire remaining stuck at the bottom of the home improvement table in Scotland, despite a moderately strong rise in applications in Glasgow over the past two years.

However the Office of National Statistics Family Spending survey does suggest that overall spending on home improvements in Scotland is improving. Households spent on average about £920 annually across 2015 and 2016. The means the total annual spend across the nation on home improvements comes in at £1.9 billion, suggesting there may be fewer but more ambitious home improvement projects.

Gordon Nelson, Director of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland, said: “The report shows that demand for home improvement work contracted by 4% in Scotland in 2016 compared with 2015 and the country sits at the very bottom of the league table of home improvers. However, not all home improvement projects need planning permission – the figures may be masking the many smaller refurbishment projects being delivered in Scotland that do not require this. That said, the larger projects provide a significant wider economic kick and as such, these results do not paint a very rosy picture for Scotland. In more positive news, Fife enjoyed a significant 14% increase compared with the previous year and East Lothian topped the table for a second year in a row in terms of overall number of planning permissions for home improvement. However, looking at the broader picture and comparing these results to that of Wales, it’s clear that Scotland is lagging behind.”

Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, said: “The overall number of home improvement applications in Scotland was more than 21,000 in 2016, still below the 22,000 level in 2014. However, over the past year the fall can be more than accounted for in the decline in applications within Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and the continued fall away in applications in Dumfries and Galloway. Subtract these three local authorities and the picture of Scottish home improvement is one of a very gentle rise over the past five years.”

About Barbour ABI:
Barbour ABI is a leading provider of construction intelligence services. With a team of in-house research specialists and a dedicated economics team, it provides commercially relevant insight and unique analysis of trends and developments within the building and construction industry.

Perth City Hall Building News
18 Apr – Five of the biggest names in UK architecture are vying for the right to redesign Perth City Hall with the building’s re-opening scheduled for 2021, reports The Courier.

Each has a grand vision for redeveloping the building into a cultural attraction capable of bringing visitors to the city from around the world. Shortlisted architects, alphabetical order:

– Austin Smith Lord
– Hoskins Architects
– LDN
– Mecanoo
– Richard Murphy Architects

Perth City Hall Building Renewal

The Bridge, Dumfries
7 Apr – First turf cut at The Bridge as hub South West’s latest initiative gets under way

The evolution of Dumfries as a Learning Town took another step forward this week with a ground breaking ceremony for The Bridge, an innovative educational building which will bring new opportunities and benefits for the entire community. The architects are Holmes Miller.

The Bridge Dumfries building

The Bridge, a stylish and modern facility, will be built next to the King George V Sports Complex on Glasgow Road and will help people develop specialist skills and knowledge that they need for further education and work.

It is the latest initiative to be facilitated by hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with forward-looking companies in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

And it is the newest project for Dumfries Learning Town which aims to deliver education on a “whole town” basis, to ensure education of the highest quality with students benefitting from common timetables, shared resources, improved facilities and increased aspiration.

The Bridge ceremony was attended by key officials from Dumfries and Galloway Council, hub South West and Graham Construction, which will build The Bridge with an expected completion date of winter next year.

The Bridge building

Jeff Leaver, chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education Committee, said: “Dumfries Learning Town is vital to the future of children in and around the Dumfries area as we strive to deliver first class educational facilities which are fit for the future.

“We are making excellent progress on all our projects, but The Bridge is a key component of the DLT development. This ground breaking ceremony marks the start something special. The young people of tomorrow will be able to take advantage of this fabulous undertaking.”

Michael McBrearty, hub South West Chief Executive, said: “Dumfries Learning Town an exciting and ambitious project of which hub South West is thrilled to be a part. With work on the St. Joseph’s modernisation and development of the new NorthWest Campus well underway, Phase 1 of the whole-town learning initiative is progressing well.

“The Bridge will be a modern and innovative approach to supporting the additional learning and further education of youngsters in the Dumfries area so it is fantastic that plans have now moved forward. We will be on site in the coming weeks.”

hub South West partnership enables cost-efficient design and construction of community facilities within South West Scotland. It aims to provide value for money and generate growth in the local economy through a new method of partnership working and procurement.

Drum Completes Sale at Prime Four

7 Apr – Lloyd’s Register Office sold for £43.2 million

Prime Four Business Park Kingswells building

Drum Property Group has completed the construction of a 102,000 square foot office at Prime Four Business Park, Kingswells, Aberdeen which LCN Capital Partners has acquired as part of a build-to-suit transaction for £43.2m.

More at Aberdeen Architecture News

pentastyle comes to Inverness

Frankfurt am Main, 29 March 2017 – Inverness, capital of the Highlands of Scotland, now has a fully refurbished pentahotel, bringing the penta group’s innovative “neighbourhood-lifestyle” approach to four-star hospitality to the heart of this strikingly beautiful city.

The 90 rooms, arranged on five floors, have undergone a complete makeover in the fresh and engaging pentastyle, where mattresses specially made for penta offer an exceptional standard of sleep. Its trademark pentalounge – combining reception, 24/7 bar and lounge, with pool table, game consoles and delicious food – is designed as a gathering place where visitors, locals and the business community can relax and mingle.

Set on Academy Street, just 100 yards from the station and 8 miles from the international airport, pentahotel Inverness is perfectly placed to serve all participants in the life of this city. Inverness is the fourth most popular tourist destination in the UK: gateway to the Highlands, close to Loch Ness and Culloden, and with plenty to see in the city itself. It is also a burgeoning centre for academic and medical research and education, and associated businesses and start-ups.

Inverness Buildings News

Ross Pavilion Competition Shortlist

Ross Pavilion International Design Competition
photo © Malcolm Reading Consultants / David Springford

28 Mar – seven finalist teams selected to proceed to the second stage of the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition over in Edinburgh:

• Adjaye Associates (UK)
• BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark)
• Flanagan Lawrence (UK)
• Page \ Park Architects (UK)
• Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway)
• wHY (USA)
• William Matthews Associates (UK) and Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan)

Ross Pavilion International Design Competition

hub South West News

27 Mar – hub South West zones into new Girvan leisure centre

hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership, has handed over a purpose built Community Leisure Centre to South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL), in Girvan, South Ayrshire.

hub South West Girvan leisure centre

The Quay Zone, a £5.4 million sports and leisure facility looking out over the much-loved Girvan seafront, was completed ahead of schedule, and is to be operated by SCCL on behalf of South Ayrshire Council. SCCL is currently recruiting and training staff for an anticipated April opening.

The new facility will provide much-needed leisure and community facilities across the area, including a gym, flexible multipurpose studio spaces, a 25m swimming pool, soft play area, community space and a café.

Girvan leisure centre building

The Quay Zone’s name and logo were chosen by way of competition, which was won by Ballantrae resident, Robert Whittington (35). Robert, a gardener at Glennapp Castle Hotel, won a free year’s membership at the flagship facility.

hub South West at Girvan leisure centre

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of hub South West said: “The handover of this long-awaited leisure centre is a momentous occasion for the communities of Girvan and South Carrick.

“As a multi-purpose development, enhanced wonderfully by stunning views of the Ailsa Craig, the Quay Zone will offer members and families a warm and welcoming atmosphere as well as access to the very best leisure facilities.

“It will be fantastic to see local residents enjoying all the Quay Zone has to offer once it opens its doors this spring.”

Girvan leisure centre swimming pool

Ken Johnstone, Chair of SCCL said; “We are very excited about taking on our new role as the operators of the Quay Zone and are gearing up to get everything going now we have the keys.

“We’ve come this far together and I know we can really make this work, so be sure to get on board and help us put Girvan, South Carrick and the Quay Zone well and truly on the map.”

hub South West Girvan

Additional funding for the facility has come from a variety of sources, including SportScotland and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, the William Grant Foundation and the Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund.

W: hubsouthwestscotland.co.uk

Climate Change Hat Trick for HES

24 Mar – WWF recognises Scotland’s lead public body for the historic environment for the third year in a row

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has been awarded the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland Public Body Champion Award for the third year in a row in recognition of its work to tackle climate change, it was announced today (24th March).

The award was presented prior to the WWF’s annual ‘Earth Hour’ initiative, which takes place tomorrow (Saturday 25th March). This event sees people across the globe switch off their lights for an hour between 8.30pm – 9.30 pm, raising awareness of the need to lower carbon emissions.

HES is working with partners across Scotland to switch off the lights at 15 historic castles and abbeys in recognition of Earth Hour tomorrow. The organisation’s Climate Change team have also been working hard to create real change across the organisation, cutting emissions and creating a greener workplace by supporting events like Pass it On Week and The Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge as well as carrying out research into the impact of climate change on historic buildings in an effort to combat it.

WWF Scotland Director, Lang Banks, said: “I’m delighted to announce Historic Environment Scotland as our Public Body Champion for all their efforts in support of our annual Earth Hour initiative. This award clearly demonstrates the commitment of the organisation to tackling climate change and protecting our brilliant planet. We look forward to working with our newly crowned Champions for Earth Hour 2017.”

The historic sites switching off the lights in 2017 are:

• Arbroath Abbey
• Castle Campbell
• Clickimin Broch
• Dundonald Castle
• Dunfermline Abbey and Palace
• Dunkeld Cathedral
• Edinburgh Castle
• Glasgow Cathedral
• Jedburgh Abbey
• Kelso Abbey
• Linlithgow Palace
• Melrose Abbey
• Stirling Castle
• Sueno’s Stone
• Urquhart Castle

Homes for Scotland

23 Mar – The shortlist for Scotland’s premier home building industry awards has been announced as trade body Homes for Scotland prepares to acknowledge the sector’s achievements at its largest celebration to date:

Homes for Scotland Awards

New Neighbour for Glasgow School of Art Building

9 Mar – Councillors in Glasgow have deferred a decision on controversial plans by HAUS Architects for a student accommodation block next to Rennie Mackintosh’s Grade A-listed Glasgow School of Art.

e-architect first reported on this student residential development had been proposed for a key Sauchiehall St plot in August 2016 (lower down this page).

looking south down Dalhousie Street, the Glasgow School of Art on right
Dalhousie Street Building in Glasgow

Earlier this week it was reported that proposals to build a student housing development adjoining the world-renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) campus have been recommended for approval by planning officials after the project was reduced by one floor.

GSA said they are “significantly concerned” about design’s impact on the Mackintosh Building.

The world-famous school is two years into a meticulous restoration project – overseen by respected architect David Page of Page \ Park Architects – which aims to revive this iconic building.

It would be a “tragedy” if a decision were taken to support a development that will block light into over half the south elevation of the building.

looking north across Sauchiehall Street, the Glasgow School of Art visible up Dalhousie Street on right:
Dalhousie Street Building in Glasgow

The developers Urban Pulse plan to demolish the former Jumpin’ Jaks nightclub on Sauchiehall Street and include roof gardens, study rooms, common areas and a cinema room.

At street level it is also proposed to reinstate the retail and leisure units currently located on the popular thoroughfare into the city, as well as providing improvements to the public realm along Dalhousie Street.

Revised plans submitted by Haus Architects show the development will be seven-storeys high, one storey shorter than the original design which was unveiled in August last year.

The building is immediately adjacent to the Glasgow School of Art by architect Rennie Mackintosh, which is located up the hill to the north.

New building on site of former Jumpin Jaks Glasgow

185 studio flats will be housed in a single building extending from three to eight storeys as it rises from Sauchiehall Street up Dalhousie Street, with ground floor retail provision stretching along the former and a central lightwell drawing daylight to the interior.

New building on site of Jumpin Jaks Glasgow

The number of flats have been reduced from 185 to 181 while the alterations will also increase visibility of the Mack’s southern gable, increasing the amount of light able to reach the school in the process.

view from from Sauchiehall Street, looking north east, the GSA is not visible
Dalhousie Street Building in Glasgow

The building is faced with smooth pre-cast concrete with copper rainscreen panels.

A report to Glasgow City Council’s councillors states the proposal “is acceptable in land use planning terms” and that the council “has given due care to the potential for the proposal to impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding conservation area and setting of adjacent listed buildings. The planning authority is satisfied that the design enhances the character and appearance of the Central Conservation Area and preserves the special interest of adjacent listed buildings. On the basis of the foregoing, it is recommended that planning permission be granted subject to conditions.”

New Sauchiehall Street building on Jumpin Jaks Glasgow site

Justice Centre in Inverness
7 Mar – A £23m justice centre in the Highland capital has been approved by planners, thus allowing it to progress the build this Spring.
Inverness Justice Centre Building
image courtesy of architects
Justice Centre Building in Inverness

Juniper Green Townhouses

24 Feb 2017 – Glencairn Properties have moved on-site with a development of four contemporary townhouses at Woodhall Drive in the village of Juniper Green, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, reports Urban Realm.

Juniper Green townhouse

Designed by Lynsay Bell Architecture the three-storey properties will each house five bedrooms and open plan living spaces with extensive glazing looking out onto south facing gardens.

Juniper Green townhouse

Replacing a disused community centre on the same site the properties also boast south facing terraces on the first floor with views to the Pentland Hills and vertical strips of curtain wall glazing to visually distinguish one home from the next.

Juniper Green townhouse

Lynsay Bell commented: “The vision was to create contemporary and desirable family homes hallmarked by the quality of their design. We also needed to consider the fact that the surrounding residential properties vary vastly in terms of their design and aesthetic. We strive to take architectural design to new levels and have ensured that Woodhall Drive has its own character that’s progressive and reflective of our design ethos and Glencairn’s vision for the development.”

A materials specification places dark bronze matt finished aluminium and buff coloured facing brickwork to the fore, with vertical timber fin screens employed for privacy.

The architects are based at 18 Walker Street in Edinburgh:
Lynsay Bell Architecture

Courtyard Edinburgh
24 Feb – A senior Marriott Vice President has travelled to Edinburgh to officially open a £30 million restoration project he initiated more than five years ago, remarking that Edinburgh is a world class destination for the international hotel business.

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh Building News

Tim Walton, Regional Vice President, Western Europe, International Development, opened city centre hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh, which with 240 rooms is one of the largest in the capital, on February 23.

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh Building News

Studioshaw win competition for new Interactive Hub for RIAS Dundee
Interactive Hub for RIAS
20 Feb – London based architects Studioshaw’s Interactive Hub proposal has won the Dundee Institute of Architects and Scottish Enterprise competition for a new facility for children and young people at the Digital Media Park in Seabraes Yards.

Interactive Hub for RIAS Dundee

Post-war A-listed Buildings News
7 Feb 2017 – Two blocks of flats in Edinburgh have become the 50th and 51st buildings whose construction was completed after World War Two to be given Category A listed status, reports the BBC.

Historic Environment Scotland puts important buildings into three categories. Those in Category A are considered to be buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic.

Cables Wynd House and neighbouring Linksview House in Leith are the 50th and 51st post-war building to be given Category A status.

Cables Wynd House – known locally as the banana flats due to its distinctive curved shape – was made famous for its part in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting where it featured as the childhood home of the character, Sick Boy.

Professor Miles Glendinning, director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, claimed the Post-War blocks combined “international excellence in modernist urban design with an attention to the spirit of place”.

Leith Architecture

Perth City Hall Cultural Venue Architecture Competition
7 2017 – Perth & Kinross Council have launched a design contest to source an architect to lead the renewal of Perth City Hall, ending years of doubt as to the buildings future.

Having initially sought to demolish the landmark the local authority now intends to transform the building into a £20m cultural attraction as part of a bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021.

Organised by the RIAS this Perth design competition invites architects to apply for the pre-qualifying stage of the competition before five qualifying architects go on to draw up more detailed proposals as part of the tender process.

City hall, which has stood empty since 2005, is being revived as part of a £36 million revamp of the city’s cultural offerings, reports The Courier.

The plan is to use the venue to host nationally significant pieces from the local authority’s own collection, as well as touring exhibitions and loans from across the UK and elsewhere.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery is also being revamped at a cost of £10 million. The idea is to have the two venues tell the story of Perth’s place at the heart of Scotland.

It is hoped that the Stone of Destiny, the crowning seat of Scottish kings, will eventually be housed at one of the venues.

The redevelopment project is a key part of the Fair City’s bid for City of Culture status in 2021.

The successful architect is likely to be confirmed by the end of the year and work could start on the hall in early 2019.

Scottish Architecture News 2017

Scottish Architecture News 2012
University of St Andrews Building
photo © Keith Hunter

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