University of St Andrews

And finally… Video reconstruction shows historic buildings as they appeared 500 years ago

Historic buildings at the heart of St Andrews have been digitally reconstructed to reveal how they looked nearly 500 years ago before the Reformation changed the face of the town forever.

St Salvator’s Quad and Chapel, at the heart of the University of St Andrews, can now be seen in a virtual recreation which reveals how these historic buildings appeared before the religious changes of the Reformation.

The reconstruction, created by Historians and Computer Scientists at the University, drew from images and manuscripts in the University’s Special Collections department.

This is the first phase of a wider project to digitally recreate the entire burgh of St Andrews as it appeared in 1559 – just before the citizens of the town officially adopted Protestantism and set about transforming the community’s Catholic religious foundations.

The St Andrews 1559 project is led by the University of St Andrews’ Professor Michael Brown, of the School of History, and Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science. The digital model of St Salvator’s was created by Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with historical advice from Dr Bess Rhodes of the Schools of History and Computer Science and with help from students.

The St Salvator’s site was chosen as the first release from the St Andrews 1559 project because of its significance in the early phases of the Scottish Reformation. In February 1528 a 24-year-old academic, Patrick Hamilton, was burnt outside the gates of St Salvator’s College for advocating support for the German Reformer Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church. Hamilton was the first person to be executed in Scotland for voicing Protestant ideas.

This year marks five centuries since the event regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses attacking the practices and doctrines of the late Medieval Catholic church in Wittenberg, a University town in Eastern Germany.

Dr Bess Rhodes said: “We selected St Salvator’s as the place to begin our reconstruction as a major landmark in the modern university and the town. It was of course also the scene of one of the most horrific events of the Scottish Reformation – the burning of Patrick Hamilton for his Lutheran beliefs.

“Particularly chillingly, Hamilton’s death was something the university was directly involved in – playing a role in the prosecution and conviction of this very young man. Yet at the same time St Salvator’s has been the scene of fantastic academic achievement and many happy incidents in the University’s history.”

St Salvator’s College was founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy as both an educational and a religious institution, providing a rigorous academic training for young men who would primarily go on to serve in Scotland’s late medieval Catholic Church.

During the Middle Ages St Andrews was the religious capital of Catholic Scotland. However, in the sixteenth century many Scots turned against Catholicism, inspired by new ‘Reformed’ interpretations of Christianity coming out of continental Europe.

In 1559 the St Andrews burgh officials (inspired by the Protestant preacher John Knox) officially rejected Catholicism, and set about transforming local religious buildings, smashing altars and statues, burning church furnishings and books, and ending the religious function of many sites within the city.

The St Salvator’s buildings were altered by the Reformation, and by further rebuilding work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although, today only small sections of the medieval College buildings survive the glories of the medieval College can now be explored virtually.

Public shown updated plans for St Andrews expansion

St Andrews West proposed boundaryDevelopers behind plans to build more than 1,000 homes as part of a western extension of St Andrews have advanced their masterplan proposals following feedback from a consultation survey.

Attendees at a second consultation event last week were given an early glimpse of how the St Andrews West could look, including the creation of new university facilities and a link road.

Details released by development consortium St Andrews West LLP of potential land uses show an ecological park and signature building on university land at the north-east entrance from the A91.

The Courier reports that the new Madras College, likely to be built at Langlands, would be flanked by university facilities and a community hub, which could include cafes, local shops, a care home, hotel and a place of worship.

Residential areas would lie to the west of the site, interspersed by parks.

The link road, it suggests, would be accessed by a roundabout rather than a junction from the A91, running from Station Park to an existing gap in the ridge behind North Haugh.

In response to concerns about the impact on views of the town’s medieval skyline from Strathkinness High and Low Roads, the consortium said it intended to keep development within a 15 metre high limit.

Architectural design, it said, will be influenced by that at places including Cambridge, Chapelton of Elsick, south of Aberdeen, and Strathkinness.

The consortium – comprising Headon Developments, the University of St Andrews and other landowners – gave an update on its vision for a “new urban quarter” of St Andrews during the latest stage of its consultation.

Further consultation will take place in August, before a planning application is submitted in September.

It intends to develop the land at North Haugh, Northbank, Langlands and between Strathkinness High and Low Roads over 20 years, starting in 2019.

£3m tennis arena set for St Andrews

1763_St-Andrews-University_View02_Final_Amended_10thNov2014A new state-of-the-art indoor tennis arena is to be built in St Andrews with the aim of encouraging more people to pursue the sport at all levels.

The £3 million four-court centre is being funded by the University of St Andrews, Sportscotland, Tennis Scotland, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), a private donor and the St Andrews alumni community.

It will be built at the University’s Sports Centre at St Leonard’s Road.

St Andrews is investing over £14m in its sports facilities which have won praise from Manchester United, Barcelona, Dundee United, Scottish Rugby and a host of other professional teams who are regular visitors to Fife for training camps.

The new centre will allow the University to achieve its aim of running a comprehensive and inclusive tennis programme that caters for increasing participation, competitive opportunities and coaching for all ages and levels.

Local schools in Fife will have regular access to the new centre on school days, and student tennis players will be encouraged to work with youngsters to develop coaching and volunteering experience.

The centre will also cater for a rapidly growing student tennis club programme from recreational to top team level.

Mike Aitken, St Andrews director of tennis, said: “The building of a four-court indoor centre is hugely exciting for the whole tennis community. It will be a fantastic venue offering a full coaching and competitive programme as well as pay and play for members of the community. We will cater for students, staff, schools, local clubs and disability groups by offering sessions for all levels.

“We will also play our part in the district, Tennis Scotland and LTA development plans with competition, player development and coach education.

“We hope to run a programme that will get more people playing more tennis at whatever level and provide a great experience for those using the facility.”

Tennis Scotland interim chief executive officer, Pete Nicholson, said: “Tennis Scotland is delighted to support this exciting development which fits perfectly with our ambitious, evolving Facilities Strategy.

“We look forward to forging many similar indoor partnerships across Scotland and will be confirming the application process for our new Indoor Tennis Fund in April.”

St Andrews director of sport, Stephen Stewart, said: “The Tennis Club enjoys one of the highest participation rates of any sport at the University and has over 200 members. Whilst the existing outdoor courts are hugely popular, their use is wholly weather dependent and our ability to develop tennis as a key sport has therefore been enormously compromised. We are thoroughly delighted that with the installation of the new four-court indoor tennis centre we will now be able to offer our students, local schools and the community the opportunity to train and play in a quality, fit for purpose facility all year round.

“Through our Performance Tennis Programme we operate eight competitive teams, which is as many as any other Scottish University, whilst also catering for a massive recreational group of casual players. The new facility will enable us to develop our performance programme, and increase our ability to offer coach education, whilst simultaneously supporting Tennis Scotland’s regional development plans.

“We are very grateful for the support from Sportscotland, as well as the generosity of a number of other significant partners – our loyal alumni and friends – without whose help this project would not have been possible.”

Work on the new centre will begin this week and it’s expected to be complete in September.

Langlands site given official approval for new Madras College

Madras CollegeCouncillors have formally agreed that the £50 million replacement for Madras College should be built at Langlands in St Andrews.

The University of St Andrews-owned site was selected by Fife Council’s executive committee as the preferred location on educational grounds after legal challenges dogged the proposed development for over a year.

The site, in the west end of the town, was initially ruled out in favour of another location in Pipeland.

A judicial review into a challenge by St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) was dismissed in March 2015 but the construction of the £40 million school was delayed until January this year after an appeal to the Court of Session.

However, following the legal challenge, Fife Council was forced to go back to the drawing board.

In addition to Langlands, three options were still in the running for the replacement Madras: a remodel of the existing Kilrymont site, and locations on Craigtoun Road and Strathkinness Road.

In a report put before Fife Council’s executive committee, Carrie Lindsay, education and children’s services executive director, confirmed Langlands as the preferred option.

She stated: “Having considered a range of factors, the more detailed site assessment process that has now been undertaken supports the initial education service view expressed at the executive committee meeting on December 13 2016 that, on balance, Langlands offers the best location for replacement of Madras College.

“In particular, the site offers the advantage of co-location with the university, potential scope for an integrated sport and community facility encompassing the school and university facilities and the early delivery of a permanent access solution, which would minimise the environmental impact of vehicle movements generated by the school on the rest of St Andrews.”

The decision is still subject to an option agreement with the university for the acquisition of a suitable site forming part of the land owned by the university at Langlands, and the completion of a full planning assessment for development on the Langlands site as part of the overall masterplan for the St Andrews West area.

The public will have their chance to have their say on the new plan between March 13 and May 12.

Tay Cities Deal bid for University of St Andrews campus redevelopment

An artist’s impression of the new Eden Campus

An artist’s impression of the new Eden Campus

The University of St Andrews has launched a £24 million bid to further redevelop the site of its Eden Campus at Guardbridge.

If approved, the development would form part of the £1.84 billion Tay Cities Deal package of 50 projects across Tayside and north east Fife which was announced earlier this month.

The university has already invested £25m in its award-winning green energy centre at the Eden Campus, which pumps hot water four miles to St Andrews to heat university buildings.

The latest project would see the redevelopment of an additional 5500 square metres of existing derelict buildings at the site and could see the creation of 500 new jobs.

More than 350 university staff are to relocate from St Andrews to the Eden Campus in 2018.

The Guardbridge site in its industrial prime

The Guardbridge site in its industrial prime

The bid has the backing of North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie, North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins and Tay Bridgehead Councillors Tim Brett and Bill Connor who represent Guardbridge.

It is predicted that the funding could unlock up to £75m of other inward investment within the first five years from a mixture of industry and private sector investors.

Specific projects earmarked for the bid are:

  • an Advance Materials Centre incorporating circular bio-economy, biorefinery, and carbon reduction;
  • The Sandpit – a zero carbon integrated energy community to support industry and academia to create new ideas for innovation in a “sandpit” environment;
  • the Eden Enterprise Centre – which will provide capacity and support for innovators, start-ups and SMEs;
  • location for a “living lab” environment to maximise knowledge transfer and learning to the community.

University of St Andrews quaestor and factor, Derek Watson, said: “With Tay Cities Deal help, we can continue to redevelop buildings and provide the necessary infrastructure to co-locate exciting new industry alongside academic expertise from across Scotland.

“Our plans for Eden Campus are ambitious but with help from our partners in the Tay Cities region and government support we believe we can make a genuine contribution to the government’s strategic objectives and society as a whole.”

An artist’s impression of Eden Campus incorporating the Tay Cities Deal development proposals

An artist’s impression of Eden Campus incorporating the Tay Cities Deal development proposals

Willie Rennie said: “I am delighted that the University is putting forward ambitious proposals to further develop their Eden Campus. This is a strong bid which would build on the existing investment. The University’s redevelopment of Guardbridge has my full support.”

Stephen Gethins added: “This is a very welcome investment by the University which will create 500 new jobs and transform another area of the Guardbridge site creating the potential for further investment in the area. I am delighted that the University has taken this step; its continued commitment to the Eden Campus project is great news for the local economy and surrounding communities. The University of St Andrews is leading the way in green energy and it is fantastic to see the Guardbridge site developed in this way.”

Sheppard Robson appointed to design student accommodation for University of St Andrews


How the site at Albany Park currently looks

Scottish architectural practice Sheppard Robson has announced its appointment to design the next generation of student accommodation for the University of St Andrews.

The scope of the £62 million Albany Park project, which is to be delivered by Campus Living Villages, will also include the design of a new high-quality, modern conference facility as well as several additional complementary student facilities.

The planned campus will be constructed to a BREEAM ‘excellent’ standard and will be completed by July 2020. The student accommodation will comprise a mix of studio, en-suite and non-en-suite rooms, with the wider project (also to be designed by Sheppard Robson) incorporating a café / social space; nursery; office space and student laundry facility.

Albany Park is part of an ongoing programme by the University of St Andrews to build and improve its residential estate for its fast-growing student population.

The project will be led by Adam McGhee, Partner at Sheppard Robson, who said: “Sheppard Robson is delighted to be working with The University of St Andrews and Campus Living Villages to deliver this exciting project. This development will cement the University’s status as a world-leading place of study and will support future growth by providing facilities that will be an attractive choice for students from around the world.

“The vision for the design from the outset will be to deliver high-quality student residential facilities that focus on the student experience together with providing first class support facilities for the students to enjoy.

“The residential units and conferencing facilities will respond to the context of the site and the adjacent conservation area, retaining key views and providing a range of room sizes, all with full height windows and arranged as flats of five rooms clustered in blocks.”

Rich Gabelich, CEO for Campus Living Villages, said: “We’ve been fortunate to have been working in partnership with the University of St Andrews since 2014, becoming their preferred Development Partner for Student Accommodation Projects in 2016. Sharing our goal to deliver outstanding student accommodation, Sheppard Robson stood out from its competitors as the most fitting appointment to work with us on the planned BREEAM ‘excellent’ standard project.

“The Albany Park site has the potential to be something very special for the University and, along with the other future developments planned, continues to show our commitment to delivering outstanding student accommodation and student experience in major university locations across the UK.”

University of St Andrews unveils £8m music centre plans

Artist’s impression of the new building, courtesy of Flanagan Lawrence

Artist’s impression of the new building, courtesy of Flanagan Lawrence

Plans for a state-of-the-art music centre in the heart of St Andrews have been unveiled today by the University of St Andrews.

The University is to stage a public exhibition of outline plans and designs for the new £8 million centre which it hopes to build on a site in Queens Terrace bordering the historic St Mary’s Quadrangle.

The new centre will offer practice, rehearsal and teaching spaces needed by student musicians and will also incorporate a dedicated rehearsal studio, a music technology and recording suite, and a library.

St Andrews aims to fund the project entirely through philanthropy and has already raised over £5m thanks to the generosity of several lead donors.

To offer the public an early opportunity to browse the plans and give feedback, the University will stage a static exhibition at the Byre Theatre from 23 to 27 January between 10am and 6pm.

In addition, on Wednesday 25 January, members of the project team will be in attendance between 3.30pm and 7pm to discuss the proposals with any interested parties.

The University announced in late 2016 that it had appointed award-winning architects Flanagan Lawrence to design the purpose-built music centre.

A spokesman said: “As the existing music centre at the Younger Hall has close links with other departments in the arts and humanities and a strong community focus, the university was anxious to ensure the new building should be in the heart of town, allowing members of the public, staff and students ready access.

“The site chosen on Queens Terrace is currently occupied by temporary buildings and a car park.

“The new building will restore a historic quad and preserve the features of St Mary’s Quadrangle, while complementing the neighbouring St Regulus Hall student residence and the Bute Building.”

Subject to a formal application for planning permission, the University hopes to begin building before the end of 2017.

It is currently seeking the support of alumni, parents and friends to help it transform the musical facilities offered to students and the general public and to reinforce music’s place at the heart of the University and town of St Andrews.

Tenders invited for £7m St Andrews halls of residence revamp

Andrew_Melville_HallTenders are being invited for a £7 million contract to develop Andrew Melville Hall in St Andrews.

Just a short walk from the centre of town, the A-listed student halls of residence was constructed between 1983 and 1986 and has seen better days.

Andrew Melville Hall is due to close in May, with the plan to offer modern accommodation from September 2018.

The University of St Andrews said the new-look hall will keep the same room configuration and capacity, but the fabric of the building will be given a “refresh” and essential electrical upgrades will be carried out.

Firms looking to take on the scheme have until January 20 to submit their bids and an appointment is expected to be made in early July.

Work should begin on September 31 with a proposed finish date of July 31 2018.

Meanwhile, two proposals of application notices have been lodged by the University in relation to development of student accommodation at land adjacent to Agnes Blackadder Hall and also land near University Hall in Kennedy Gardens.

A public consultation is due to be held between 2pm and 8pm on February 6 to give people the chance to find out more, although the venue has not yet been finalised.

Award winning Guardbridge biomass plant commissioned

Guardbridge Energy CentreThe University of St Andrews’ strategic aim to become the UK’s first carbon neutral university for energy usage took a major step forward today when the biomass plant at the Eden Campus at Guardbridge was officially commissioned.

The £25 million plant on the east side of the former paper mill site produces hot water from a biomass boiler using clean, natural fuels from sustainable sources across Scotland, which is pumped four miles underground to St Andrews where it heats University buildings.

Last week the energy centre won a major national award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2016 defeating strong competition from across Scotland to take the prestigious Sustainable Development Award.

The project is funded by an £11m loan from the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (SPRUCE) Fund, a joint Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund initiative, managed by Amber Infrastructure Limited and a £10m grant from the Scottish Funding Council, with the remaining £4m coming from the University.

At a short commissioning ceremony at Guardbridge, University Principal Professor Sally Mapstone officially lit the biomass boiler.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Guardbridge community and children from Guardbridge Primary School.

Officially opening the facility Professor Mapstone said: “This is an important milestone on our journey to becoming the first University to be carbon neutral for our energy usage.

“To heat water and pump it four miles to heat our buildings and student residences is a considerable feat of engineering and I would commend our partners Vital Energi and all those who made it possible for a great achievement.

“We have renamed this part of the University estate ‘The Eden Campus’.

“The biomass plant is at the heart of the regeneration of the Campus which will breathe new life into the wider Guardbridge community.”

Mike Cooke, regional director for Vital Energi, said: “By working with the University we have been able to ensure that this project has already delivered significant employment and enironmental benefits to Fife and the wider community, and now the scheme will begin to deliver the economic benefits for decades to come.

“This award-winning project will now deliver 6000 tonnes of carbon reductions each year, which is a huge step towards the University’s ambition of carbon neutrality and a great addition to Scotland’s growing sustainable energy infrastructure.”

Green light for £10m St Andrews marine lab

An artist's impression of the Gatty Marine Lab at St Andrews East Sands

An artist’s impression of the Gatty Marine Lab at St Andrews East Sands

A new marine laboratory for the University of St Andrews has been approved by Fife Council.

Set to be built at East Sands, the £10 million state of the art marine biology lab will replace the internationally renowned but now outdated Gatty Marine facility.

To allow the new laboratory to be constructed, the current institute will be partially demolished from the same site.

St Andrews Community Council had objected on the grounds that the new development would fail to adhere to the East Sands Urban Design Framework, while Fife Council’s own heritage team had reviewed the application and recommended refusal, declaring the loss of the existing building as “regrettable”.

However the project looks set to go ahead following a meeting of Fife Council’s North East Fife Planning Committee.

Once constructed, the new facility will provide a global hub for marine research focused on conservation and understanding the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans.

It will be the permanent base of the Scottish Oceans Institute which includes the world leading Sea Mammal Research Unit, and the executive office of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS).

The new aquarium will cater for extensive environmental monitoring and control of temperature, lighting, pH, oxygen, salinity, ammonia and nitrates.

Specialist rooms with climate control will allow electronic and optical equipment to co-exist with culture facilities supplied with running seawater.

This will support sophisticated long-term experiments on adaptation of organisms to climate change.

The building will also incorporate a Public Outreach Centre, taking advantage of its location on the Fife Coastal Path, allowing St Andrews to play a lead role in furthering public interest in and understanding of the oceans and the unique ecosystem of the North Sea.