Glasgow innovations recognised in 2015 housing design awards

Two Glasgow based projects have been awarded the prestigious 2015 Saltire Innovation in Housing award, supported by the endorsement of the Scottish Government, as part of the 2015 Saltire Housing Design Awards.

Recognising housing design excellence throughout Scotland, the prestigious awards from the Saltire Society represent a long-standing commitment to celebrate innovation and excellence in Scottish house building and place-making.


The Polnoon housing development in Eaglesham and Refurbished House at BRE Innovation Park, Motherwell each received the title and cash prize of £1,500 a special ceremony yesterday in the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation when the judges found themselves unable to pick one over the other.

Comprising 121 homes, the Polnoon development encapsulates a new design approach to build a better quality living environment and conservation area for tomorrow, that suits contemporary family living. Refurbished House at the BRE Innovation Park is a live research and development laboratory project which will provide information for the development of a retrofit strategy to tackle the existing building stock in Scotland.

Laurieston Transformational Area
Laurieston Transformational Area

Recognised under the coveted Multiple Housing Development category, phase 1A of the Laurieston Transformational Regeneration Area was also announced as an award winner. The first in a comprehensive redevelopment of the Laurieston area, the 201 unit mixed housing development is both environmentally and socially sustainable and helps to create a powerful sense of place in anticipation of the planned future development phases.

As well as the five Housing Design award categories, the Saltire Society also announced the winner of the sought-after Saltire Medal. Selected out of the winners of all categories apart from Innovation in Housing, this year’s award went to a renovation project known as the Old Farmhouse in Invergarry, Invernesshire, a project that was specifically designed so that it brought together and enhanced various ad-hoc modifications that had been required to the original building which dates back to 1868.

Past winners of this coveted accolade and separate cash prize of £1,500 include North Gardner Street in Glasgow, the transformation of a semi derelict workshop and office building into a calm, private city house, designed by Cameron Webster Architects and the Artist Residence, in Perth by Fergus Purdie Architects.

The winners were announced by 2015 Awards panel guest chair, Toby Paterson.

He said: “It is both my honour and privilege to announce the winners of the 2015 Saltire Society Housing Design Awards, with the standard of entries, as ever, being outstanding.

“The Housing Design Awards were established to recognise and celebrate Scottish architecture and I firmly that our 2015 winners are shining examples of the very best of Scotland’s architecture. May I take this opportunity to say well done again to all those shortlisted.”

As part of the awards ceremony, the Scottish branch of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) also announced the winners of their 2015 Good Building Awards, selected from those projects listed on the Saltire Society’s 2015 Housing Design Awards shortlist. For 2015 this has been split into two separate categories: Major projects (multiple unit developments) and; Smaller projects (single unit/alternation/renovations project).

Winner of the Major Project Award is phase 1A of the Laurieston Transformational Regeneration Area. The first in a comprehensive redevelopment of the Laurieston area, the 201 unit mixed housing development is both environmentally and socially sustainable and helps to create a powerful sense of place in anticipation of the planned future development phases. This development also took home the Landscape in Housing award, introduced as part of the Saltire Housing Design Awards this year.

The CIOB Good Building Smaller Project Award was given to Alterations, Renovations and Extensions winner, The Mill in Kilbucho, Peebles. The renovation of an existing ruined steading into an open-plan new family home, the aim with this development was to maintain as much of the character and building mass from the original structure as possible.

Commenting on the awards, minister for housing and welfare Margaret Burgess MSP said: “The Saltire Society’s Housing Design Awards act as a spur for excellence, not only by raising ambitions for good new house design and the creation of successful, sustainable places but also by promoting a sensitive approach to adapting and enhancing our built heritage.

“Few things are more important to us than the quality of where we live, both in terms of our homes themselves and the neighbourhoods and communities in which they sit.

“The Scottish Government recognises the significant role that the Saltire Housing Design Awards play in helping to drive up the standard of Scotland’s houses and places, and the positive impact of this upon our wellbeing as well as our built environment.

“The quality of housing displayed on the Society’s shortlist the length and breadth of the country and across tenures is very impressive. This is a tribute both to the skills of the architects and the vision of the clients, and certainly fits with my vision of the kind of place that I want Scotland to be with high quality housing for all. Housing is at the heart of this government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country.”

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society, said: “The Housing Design Awards were the very first Awards scheme initiated by the society, and have been around longer than any other design awards in Scotland.

“Established in 1937, the Awards not only promote the importance of good design and housing for all, but have evolved to help to honour and encourage creativity, excellence and innovation in modern Scottish place-making.

“As ever I have been very impressed by the design, innovation and attention to detail that is present in all of this year’s shortlisted entries and particularly pleased at the exceptional examples of multiple housing developments, which resonate with the very reason we have these awards. The feedback from the judges is that the decisions on the overall winners were particularly hard to make, which is testament to the calibre of architectural talent in Scotland today.”

Monday’s ceremony also marked the announcement of the 2015 winner of the Saltire International Travel Bursary for architecture, sponsored by The British Council. This year’s recipient is Robert Hebblethwaite from the University of Edinburgh who will use the £1,500 award to visit and contrast Japan’s high speed rail line to that of the East Coast Mainline.

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