On 9th November 2012, the third biennial IAA Awards took place to raise awareness of good design and architecture in Scotland.
Presented by comedian Fred MacAulay, at a ceremony and awards dinner at the Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion, the IAA Awards featured a range of categories including Best New Building and Best Restoration.
Organised by the Inverness Architectural Association – the chapter of the Royal Incorporation of Architects that covers the Highland and Islands – the ceremony saw the newly opened Milton of Leys Primary and No 15 Boreraig building, jointly scoop the top prize of Open Award for Best New Building.
Additional winners included St Benedict’s Abbey/LDN Architects for New Life for Old Building; 24 houses at Burnside/Rural Design Architects for Placemaking; High Mills/Trevor Black Architects awarded in the category of Innovation; and No 15 Boreraig/Dualchas Building Design for Best Use of Timber.
Speaking about the awards, the Chairman of the Judges, said:
“We were hugely impressed by the standard across all the categories this year. The quality really was superb across the range of entries. In the end, for the Open Award for Best New Building we could not choose between two disparate projects. One was a small domestic building, the other achieved through public funding. Both were outstanding and worthy winners.”
To date, the IAA Awards have taken place three times; in 2008, 2010 and most recently in 2012. In 2008 Reiach and Hall’s Pier Arts Centre, Stromness was awarded the Best New Building in the Highlands and Islands, whilst the Best New Building on Skye was named as The Shed by Dualchas Building Design.
In 2010, the Best New Building was Raasay Hall by Dualchas Building Design and the Best New Building in the Highlands and Islands was the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness, as designed by LDN of Forres.
The IAA Awards 2012 was sponsored by Marley Eternit and NorDan, and partnered by The Highland Council, The Moray Council, Forestry Commission Scotland and Wood for Good. Since its inception in 2008 more than 200 entries have been received from across the Highlands and Islands.
Rewarding recognition: HRI Architects
As part of the IAA Awards 2012, leading architectural practice HRI Architects received a nomination for its work on the Centre for Energy and the Environment.
The Centre for Energy and the Environment is part of the North Highland College and working under the Environmental Research Institute the building is used as a research facility for the study of marine biology. Researchers at the Centre conduct work in connection with on-shore and off-shore renewables, as well as important marine-based studies and submit their findings to the Scottish Government, local authorities/agencies and the wider scientific community.
Work began on the Centre for Energy and the Environment in early 2010 and reached completion in January 2011 as part of a Design and Build contract. HRI Architects provided all architectural services on the building, whilst Robertson Construction Northern was the main contractor.
The building frame was constructed using laminated and cross-laminated timber, with concrete foundations and ground floor. The building covers an area of 1000 sq meters, divided over two floors and includes labs and research offices.
Commenting on the design of the Centre, HRI Architects Director, Mark Williams, said:
“For the design of the Centre for Energy and the Environment, we worked with Robertson Construction Northern on a Design and Build basis to modify the design and develop the building in a new way to bring it much more in line with its intended use.”
Prior to work taking place on the new building a number of 1950s ‘portacabin’ style buildings were demolished and the site was cleared ready for construction.
Discussing the importance of being nominated at the IAA Awards, Mark Williams commented:
“There are six local rounds in six geographical areas which make up the IAA’s remit. There was a local round in the northern part of Scotland and under the New Building category we won which automatically put us into the final. Although we didn’t win the award in the end it is always fantastic to be recognised for our contribution to a project and especially one such as this.”
“The whole point of the IAA Awards is to acknowledge the work of architects within our local area that in turn raises awareness of these practices to a broader client base. This recognition in turn helps generate further investment in projects like this and everything comes full circle. The standards of the awards increase each year and this has also ensured that we, as a practice, try to raise our standards too.
“The awards have been running since 2008 and we have been shortlisted each time they take place. In the most recent ceremony we were shortlisted in two categories – Best Building and Best Use of Timber – which was a fantastic achievement for us.”
StudioKAP: answering some serious architectural questions
Set in the magnificent rural surroundings of Linsiadar, just across Loch Ceann Hulabhig from the ancient stone circle of Calanais on the Isle of Lewis, there lies a rather unique house.
The new building engages physically with the ruined shell of a late 18th century Tacksman’s house, re-inhabiting and preserving its footprint with a raised sheltered garden, greenhouse and a tower for study and reflection on the wider landscape.
Unlike many of its contemporaries, the building successfully manages to marry the old with the new. Through a unique design this marriage earned architects studioKAP both a commendation from the Inverness Architectural Association and an Award from the Saltire Society. It is also a case study explored in depth in the recently-published book “Dwelling with Architecture” by Roderick Kemsley and Christopher Platt. (Routledge 2012 ISBN :978-0-415-56904-0).
Speaking about the project, studioKAP director Christopher Platt said:
“Receiving the award means a lot to us as we spend a lot of time developing projects with clients and we think that we have something to say beyond simply meeting their needs as initially expressed in a design brief.
“Our project at Linsiadar is trying to answer some serious questions about what a contemporary rural house in a setting of outstanding natural beauty should represent. Can an architect make such a site better than it was before? Building in a gritty urban setting is one thing, but when the site is already beautiful, the danger is that you might mess it up.
“This project challenges recent the common practice in rural settings of leaving the old buildings to deteriorate whilst building completely unrelated new bungalows adjacent.
“In the Linsiadar case, the old fabric was consolidated, repaired and incorporated into a new structure constructed from a timber frame clad in dark stained weatherboarding and roofed with black slate.”
When talking about the design process of such an ambitious build, Christopher added:
“The lesson of the project is that the client gets the best out of an architect if they are able to enter into an open process which prompts the discussion of ideas. Our aim is establish a collaboration between clients and ourselves. It’s not like buying a car or even a house-there needs to be room to manoeuvre on both sides to get the best results.”
To learn more about the project at Linsiadar or some of studioKAP’s other award winning buildings then visit www.studiokap.com.