‘Carbuncle’ housing development wins Best Building award

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A St Andrews housing development described as a carbuncle by the local community has been awarded the Best Building in Scotland Award 2015.

West Burn Lane picked up the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Andrew Doolan award from a shortlist of 12 projects, winning architects Sutherland Hussey Harris a gold medal and £25,000.

The site in the town centre had a contentious planning history, with two previous failed bids before the plan for six houses, four maisonettes and four apartments was granted permission in 2013.

At the time, St Andrews Community Council and St Andrews Preservation Trust objected strongly to the design and both remained adamant the development was not in keeping with the character of the town centre, with community council chairman Howard Greenwell saying the only award it should have been shortlisted for was ‘Carbuncle of the Year’.

However, it appears the judges disagreed.

A passage from their citation for the project said: “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 detailing is meticulous and the development is full of interest.

RIAS judges

“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. 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.”