Engine Shed celebrates successful first year

The Engine Shed team celebrate one year since Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre first opened

Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre, The Engine Shed, celebrates its first birthday today after reaching key milestones in its first year, including welcoming over 15,000 visitors and winning a number of awards.

In addition to smashing its visitor target, Scotland’s national conservation hub engaged over 2,700 school pupils, offered 288 free space hire bookings to stakeholders across the sector and developed international partnerships with a range of key heritage organisations.

As a centre for traditional buildings, science and technology in Scotland, The Engine Shed’s reach has extended far beyond Scotland with expertise being sought-after across the globe. The Engine Shed, in partnership with the White House Historical Association, organised for a stonemason to carve a double rose replacement stone for the White House in Washington. To celebrate this, an exhibition on ‘Scots who built the White House’ will be held at the Engine Shed this autumn.

Recently, the Engine Shed partnered with the Forbidden City and Palace of Museum in Beijing to curate an exhibition at Stirling Caste on traditional skills which featured two replica Chinese terracotta warriors. The Engine Shed has also hosted senior government officials from China, Sweden, Norway and South Korea and delivered international conferences for the Association of Preservation Trust International (USA) and Stirling University.

Alongside generating international interest, the Engine Shed has secured its place as a firm Scottish attraction and will continue to develop innovative and fun family-friendly events and activities. This summer, the Engine Shed will run a series of free ‘Skills and Thrills’ workshops which will focus on traditional building skills including stonemasonry, surveying, timber engineering and brick construction. There will also be workshops on creating traditional buildings out of LEGO as well as designing a sports ground using 3D pens in celebration of the 2018 Special Olympics Anniversary Games. This autumn a digital festival will bring experts from across the world to share their knowledge and experience of new and emerging technologies.

The Engine Shed, run by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), serves as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public. Recently, the Engine Shed was awarded ‘Best Building 2018’ and ‘Best Use of Stone’ at the Stirling Society of Architects Design Awards 2018 and was named one of Scotland’s best new buildings at the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Awards 2018.

Dr David Mitchell, director of conservation at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Scotland’s heritage assets are renowned across the world and we are dedicated to ensuring that Scotland is also recognised as the place which leads research and technological innovation in caring for these important cultural and economic assets. As well as being key assets for the future, traditional buildings are also able to deliver innovation in areas not normally associated with heritage and culture. We see this as a key area for continued development.

“The Engine Shed building itself showcases how traditional skills and materials continue to be relevant – Scottish materials are high quality, sustainable and ethically sourced – we can learn much from the past to inform the future.

“The work of the Engine Shed focuses on combining tradition with technology and encouraging a new generation to think differently about heritage.”

The success of the Engine Shed has also been hailed across the sector.

John McKinney, manager at the National Federation of Roofing Contractors – Scotland, said: “The Engine Shed provides the essential hub to coordinate activities which promote traditional building skills and materials to a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland and beyond, and is a great example of how a traditional building can be adapted for modern use and show what an important role our existing buildings have in the future of Scotland.”

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