Cairngorms building named Scotland’s best

AN office building and community café in the Cairngorms National Park has been named Scotland’s ‘Building of the Year’.

Quarry Studios – designed by Moxon Architects – has been awarded the accolade by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which describes its Building of the Year awards as the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, in memory of the late architect and hotelier, Andrew Doolan, who died in 2004.

Says the RIAS, here: “Moxon Architects created Quarry Studios for themselves, alongside a café to serve the remote location’s scattered community as well as tourists who come to visit the Cairngorms National Park and neighbouring Balmoral.

“The low-lying building is tucked into the bowl of a former quarry, and makes positive use of a site that had previously been a rubbish tip. The building, which combines private office use alongside a public face, is welcoming and accessible, and deeply rooted within its landscape.”

RIAS adds: “Quarry Studios is designed as a low energy, lightweight building to minimise its impact on the surrounding Site of Special Scientific Interest. The extensive use of local timber respects its thick forest setting, and is part of a design strategy to support local labour through the promotion of traditional trade and materials as well as the exploration of contemporary construction techniques.

“The interiors are spacious, light and airy – supporting a flat hierarchy and different activities within Moxon Architects’ studio, and creating a welcoming retreat for visitors to the café.”

Four other buildings were on the shortlist: Forth Valley College – Falkirk Campus by Reiach and Hall Architects; High Sunderland, Galashiels by Loader Monteith; Jedburgh Grammar Campus, Jedburgh by Stallan-Brand Architecture; and Lockerbie Sawmill by Konishi Gaffney.

Previous winners of the ‘Scots Building of the Year’ title are:

  • 2021 – Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen by Hoskins Architects
  • 2020 – no award as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented jury visits
  • 2019 – The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, Craigellachie by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • 2018 – Nucleus, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Caithness Archive, Caithness by Reiach and Hall Architects
  • 2017 – Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, Dunfermline by Richard Murphy Architects
  • 2016 – Saunders Centre, Science & Technology Building, Glasgow by Page\Park Architects
  • 2015 – West Burn Lane, St Andrews by Sutherland Hussey Harris
  • 2014 – Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh by Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd
  • 2013 – WASPS South Block, Glasgow by NORD Architecture
  • 2012 – Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Glasgow by OMA

Picture credit: Tim Soar

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