West Burn Lane, St Andrews

Scoops UK’s Richest Architecture Prize

West Burn Lane, St Andrews by Sutherland Hussey Harris has been awarded the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2015. From a shortlist of twelve projects, all winners of RIAS Awards for 2015 (presented in June 2015), the judges selected West Burn Lane as a clear winner. The award was presented at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland (Doolan Award winner for 2011) by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP alongside Mrs Margaret Doolan Hon FRIAS (the late Andrew Doolan’s mother).

The winner of this year’s RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award receives a gold medal cast by internationally renowned Scottish Goldsmith, James Brent Ward and a cheque for £25,000. This makes it the richest architectural prize in the UK and one of the most significant architecture awards in Europe. The award is generously supported by the late Andrew Doolan’s family and by the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“Once again, both the worthy winner and the strength of this year’s shortlist for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award have shown that the quality of Scotland’s new architecture stands shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.

In both our contemporary architecture and our built heritage, the RIAS has a great richness upon which to draw for its Festival of Architecture during the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016. The Scottish Government is pleased to support both of these initiatives to celebrate and promote Scottish design excellence.”

The full judges’ citation for the winning project reads:

“This is a commercial residential development in a very particular location, where potential purchasers demanded spaces and finishes of an extremely high standard. This has been achieved. The (former architect) client worked closely alongside his architects at every stage.

Expertly woven into the existing fabric of St Andrews, although uncompromisingly contemporary, the development acknowledges the historic street pattern and scale of its special context. The external materials palette is limited and of extremely high quality. While the built fabric in the vicinity is predominantly structural stone, the use of a warm continental brick with narrow courses is appropriate and welcoming.

A variety of different house types, some with integral garaging, punctuate the long front elevation on West Burn Lane. Careful shifts in level and depth along both front and rear elevations of the development add interest, while emphasising the scale of the separate homes which come together in this virtuoso work of urban renewal.

Internal finishes are appropriately ‘high end’ with generous plans, taking maximum advantage of views. Both externally and internally, the detailing is meticulous and the development is full of interest. The client and the local planning authority are well worthy of praise for creating a fine, twenty-first century, housing development, wholly appropriate to the place and the needs of owners.”

The building was selected from a strong shortlist of twelve projects which represented a comprehensive range of building types. The judges felt that two projects merited a Special Mention. These are:

Arcadia Nursery, Edinburgh

Malcolm Fraser Architects

Laurieston Transformational Area, Glasgow

PagePark Architects and Elder and Cannon Architects

The panel of judges was chaired by Willie Watt PRIAS, along with Dame Barbara Kelly Hon FRIAS, Peter McIlhenny FRIAS, Past President of the RIAS’ Inverness Chapter and Margaret Richards FRIAS, winner of last year’s RIAS Lifetime Achievement Award.

The panel looked for projects which showed innovation and design excellence, irrespective of size or type. Other key considerations were: detailing, accessibility, environmental issues and technical skill. From the sixty five entries for the 2015 RIAS Awards twelve were shortlisted for the ‘Doolan’.

Willie Watt PRIAS commented that;

“Year on year the shortlist for this award, all winners of RIAS Awards, demonstrates the superb quality of contemporary Scottish architecture. The work of architects can be transformative, not simply of places, but of people’s lives. This shortlist testifies to that and the worthy winner is a great building of the current era which will hopefully contribute to a more enlightened approach to our historic townscapes. Well done all the architects and particular plaudits to the superb winning scheme.”

The shortlist for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award comprised this year’s RIAS Awards winners, as follows:

1. Arcadia Nursery, Edinburgh

Malcom Fraser Architects for The University of Edinburgh

2. Dalmunach Distillery, Moray

Archial Norr (Inverness Studio) (for Chivas Brothers (part of Pernod Ricard))

3. Highland Steading, Blairgowrie

Marcus Lee/FLACQ and cameronwebster architects (for a private client)

4. Lamb's House, Edinburgh

Groves-Raines Architects Ltd (for Groves-Raines Architects)

5. Laurieston Transformational Area, Glasgow

PagePark Architects and Elder and Cannon Architects (for New Gorbals Housing Association)

6. Maggie's Lanarkshire, Airdrie

Reiach and Hall Architects (for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres)

7. The Mill, Scottish Borders

WT Architecture (for a private client)

8. Regency Dormer, Edinburgh

Konishi Gaffney Architects (for a private client)

9. Rosefield, Edinburgh

A449 LTD (for Format Scotland LTD)

10. The Shields Centre, Glasgow

Anderson Bell + Christie Architects (for hub West Scotland)

11. Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Page Park Architects (for Scottish Opera)

12. West Burn Lane, St Andrews

Sutherland Hussey Harris (for EASTACRE Investments LLP)