Two Fife buildings among Scotland's best for 2023

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Two new St Andrews buildings are among the seven winners of the 2023 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Awards.

The University of St Andrews’ Laidlaw Music Centre and Pilmour House, the new home of St Andrews Links Trust have both been named among the winners alongside a clutch of new houses and an impressive new building for the University of Stirling.

The RIAS Awards demonstrate the quality and breadth of architectural endeavour in Scotland. All types and sizes of architectural projects can win a RIAS Award with buildings assessed by an expert jury who visit each project in person, and consider the buildings’ architectural integrity, usability and context, delivery and execution, and sustainability.

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Laidlaw Music Centre is the first building dedicated to music in the University of St Andrews’ 600 year history and creates new opportunities for young people – students as well as those from the local community – to connect with the performing arts.

Laidlaw Music Centre, University of St Andrews by Flanagan Lawrence.Laidlaw Music Centre, University of St Andrews by Flanagan Lawrence.
Laidlaw Music Centre, University of St Andrews by Flanagan Lawrence.

The new building, designed by Flanagan Lawrence, contains an intimate performing venue, flexible rehearsal space and a high-tech recording facility. It creates a new quadrangle as an extension of the historic St Mary’s Quadrangle – the oldest part of the university dating to the 16th century.

Within its pale sandstone walls, the oak lined recital room contains exceptional technology that allows it to be physically reconfigured and acoustically ‘tuned’ at the touch of a button in order to suit anything from orchestral rehearsals to small-scale ensembles.

The second local winner was Pilmour House, the new base for St Andrews Links Trust which operates the seven public golf courses that constitue the ‘Home of Golf’.

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The new HQ is grounded within its landscape, using highly tailored architecture to encapsulate the trust’s values of quality, heritage and commitment to excellence.

Pilmour House, St Andrews by Nicoll Russell Studios.  (Pic: Keith Hunter)Pilmour House, St Andrews by Nicoll Russell Studios.  (Pic: Keith Hunter)
Pilmour House, St Andrews by Nicoll Russell Studios. (Pic: Keith Hunter)

Sandstone masonry – a common material across St Andrews, is juxtaposed with lighter framed construction in timber, glass, zinc and aluminium in a pavilion-style building that presents a new public presence for the Trust and commands exceptional views over the surrounding golf courses. Nicoll Russell Studios harnessed this setting to create an office building that draws upon, and augments, a very distinct sense of place.

The other winners are Campus Central, University of Stirling by PagePark Architects; Cuddymoss, North Ayrshire by Ann Nisbet Studio; Half of Eleven, Isle of Skye by Dualchas Architects; Hundred Acre Wood, Argyll and Bute by Denizen Works; Papple Steading, East Lothian by cameronwebster architects with Ian Parsons Architect.

The winners will now become the ‘longlist’ for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award. The award shortlist will be announced in July ahead of the winner announcement in November. Recipients of the RIAS Awards are also eligible for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) National Awards.

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Tamsie Thomson, chief executive of RIAS, said: “From simple yet elegant new homes that respond to varied Scottish landscapes, to complex higher education and corporate buildings created for some of Scotland’s world-leading institutions, the winners of the 2023 RIAS Awards demonstrate that architecture in Scotland continues to have the power to delight and inspire. Great architecture happens when architects and clients can come together with a clear focus on collaboration and quality. This year’s winners show that regardless of setting, scale and budget, it is careful procurement and partnership that creates buildings that are truly special.”