David Narro Associates

Clark Contracts to reinstate Glasgow’s original Mackintosh Tea Rooms

digThe Willow Tea Rooms Trust has appointed Clark Contracts to deliver the final construction and fit out phase of the famous original Tea Rooms Building created by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903.

In addition to reinstating the Tea Rooms, the refurbishment at Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street will create an exhibition and visitor centre, learning and education suite, retail and conference facilities. It will become a focal point for cultural and heritage tourism in the city.

Clark Contracts’ Manufactured Joinery Division are recreating some of the original fitted furniture pieces that will feature in the refurbished Tea Rooms including the bespoke banquet seating in the front salon and gallery, the detailed seating in the billiard room and the inglenook seating at its original fireplace.

The Board of Trustees are supported by an Advisory Panel of Mackintosh experts who scrutinise every detail of the restoration to ensure each element of the work is in line with the original Mackintosh designs, conserving the unique heritage.

Celia Sinclair, chair of the Trustees, said: “The Trust are delighted to have Clark Contracts on site. Works are going very well. Clark Contracts are not only determined to complete this exciting and challenging project, made possible by the support of The Heritage Lottery Fund, for an opening in June 2018, but are totally committed to the fact that this is a unique, iconic Mackintosh treasure in our City of Glasgow.”

Gerry Cummins, director, Clark Contracts, said: “It is an honour to be involved in such a unique and important project for Glasgow. We are looking forward to working with The Willow Tea Rooms Trust, their Mackintosh experts and the design team to deliver this exciting restoration.”

Clark Contracts is working with design team members Simpson and Brown Architects, project managers and surveyors Doig and Smith, services engineers Rybka, interior design consultants Studioarc and structural engineers David Narro Associates.

The award of the contract will support the training and development of Clark Contracts apprentices and trainees in roles including joinery and site management. The project has already seen visits from local students from Glasgow Caledonian University and there will be events held throughout the duration of the project to promote heritage craft skills.

7N Architects wins Shetland campus masterplan commission

AHSKnabSite-July2017-01Edinburgh-based 7N Architects has been selected to draw up designs for the redevelopment of Anderson High School in Lerwick for Shetland Islands Council.

The project will develop a vision and redevelopment strategy for the site to create a vibrant, thriving and sustainable mixed use community within the heart of the Old Town of Lerwick.

7N Architects will produce a masterplan to map out the future of Knab Campus, which is set to become vacant towards the end of this year as staff and pupils relocate to the new High School and Halls of Residence under construction at Staney Hill.

The team, who will bring both individual expertise and valuable experience of working on Shetland, includes consulting structural & civil engineers David Narro Associates, quantity surveyors & cost consultants David Adamson and PartnersGroves-Raines ArchitectsRankin Fraser Landscape Architects and transport planning consultants Systra.

The plan will be drawn up through public engagement on issues such as specific uses, design details, layouts, open space and landscaping.

Previous comments over the 6.5 hectare site indicate a desire for a well-designed, mixed use and residentially compatible development.

In addition, three listed buildings on the site must be incorporated into any redevelopment; the former Anderson Institute; and the Janet Courtney and Bruce Hostels.

Cllr Alastair Cooper said: “This is a positive step forward for the Knab Campus that will help us create the vision for the site and to see it developed as soon as practicable. 7N Architects have considerable experience and an established pedigree working on other campus projects across Scotland and their expertise will be invaluable.”

7N added: “The team are looking forward to working with Shetland Island Council and the local community on this inspiring site to develop a vision worthy of this unique place.”

Designers reveal vision for Edinburgh’s new-look Saughton Park


Initial designs for the major redevelopment of one of Edinburgh’s premier parks will be unveiled this week.

The first impressions of a new-look Saughton Park and Gardens will go on display to the public at a special event tomorrow.

Visitors to the drop-in exhibition will be able to discuss provisional plans with designers Ironside Farrar Ltd.

The consultants, who were involved in the design of The Helix in Falkirk, have been appointed to develop a design plan for the proposed £5.3 million renovation of the historic park.

Environment convener, councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “This is a very important stage in the project to revive Saughton Park and its wonderful gardens, as we get a first glimpse of designers’ vision for restoring it to its former glory.

“We have been eager to involve local people throughout this process, and now the community can come along and tell us what they think of these exciting new ideas.”

The design team, which also includes Sutherland Hussey Architects, Peter McGowan Associates, Richard Shorter Architect and David Narro Associates, has drawn on a visitor satisfaction survey and interactive events with the public to ensure designs cater to park users.

The project aims to renovate Saughton garden’s historic elements and secured almost £400,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to develop a design and prepare a bid for funding to implement this.

Originally established as part of Saughton Hall in the 17th century before being purchased by the council and opened to the public in 1905, Saughton Park is considered one of Edinburgh’s six ‘premier parks’.

In 1908 it was redesigned for the Scottish National Exhibition, resulting in a range of new features, including sporting facilities, a bandstand and winter and botanical gardens.

The event, which will involve tea, coffee and mince pies along with festive music, will take place at the Saughton Park Winter Garden on Tuesday 16th  December between 4pm and 8pm.

Edinburgh consultant engineers sold to staff

David Narro

David Narro

Scottish consultant structural and civil engineering firm David Narro Associates (DNA) has become the country’s latest employee-owned business.

David Narro established the company in 1986, taking it from humble beginnings to one of the industry’s most trusted businesses, employing 30 people between its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices.

With David planning to retire in about five years’ time, he wanted to ensure his legacy was protected and opted to follow in the footsteps of John Lewis, the UK’s best-known employee-owned business.

DNA – the company behind the structural alterations supporting the £27 million refurbishment of the National Museum in Edinburgh – has now sold 80 per cent of shares to employees via an Employee Ownership Trust. The remainder will be made available to staff for purchase directly as part of a share incentive scheme.

Co-operative Development Scotland supported the move by providing advice and guidance on the new structure, while Baxendale provided the feasibility study as well as legal, financial and employee engagement advice throughout the process.

Explaining the decision to move to employee ownership, David said: “I didn’t just want to retire. I wanted to make sure the company itself would continue without me. The best way to do that was to allow the employees who know the business so well to take it forward – they are just as responsible for its success as anyone.

“The way I have run the practice has always been co-operative, so employee ownership is a natural fit for the company’s future.”

Amanda Douglas, DNA’s practice manager and now an employee-owner, added: “David has kept us involved every step of the way and it is an exciting time not just for the business, but for everyone who works here.

“Knowing that each of us will play a vital role in the practice’s long-term success has given us all an extra incentive to do well.”

The final decision to hand control of DNA to its employees was taken in 2012 after David attended a half-day seminar run by Co-operative Development Scotland.

He said: “The seminar was really helpful and for me it was the final nudge I needed towards employee ownership. It was great to hear first-hand from those who have gone through the process what the benefits were and how it affected them.”

Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “This is terrific news for David Narro Associates. For David, it is the ideal succession route, knowing the future of the company he built from scratch is in safe hands – as well as protecting the jobs he helped create.”

Ewan Hall, legal director at Baxendale, who led the transition at DNA, said: “It has been great working with the team at David Narro Associates. This transition was not just about the transfer of ownership, but also broadening participation and responsibility throughout the organisation.”

David’s enthusiasm for the model has been strengthened by the progress of long-time collaborators Page\Park. The Glasgow-based architectural practice became employee-owned in December 2013 and has already seen an improvement in productivity as well as staff engagement.

He added: “The response within the company has been very positive and we’re looking forward to the next few years with a great deal of optimism.”

The transition of businesses such as DNA to employee ownership has been boosted by the introduction of new tax reliefs earlier this year.

These reliefs mean owners who sell their businesses into such structures pay less tax, while the business can distribute profits to employees in a more tax-efficient manner.