Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow, is named Scotland’s ‘Project of the Year’

Mackintosh at the Willow in Glasgow has been named Project of the Year, Scotland, at the RICS Awards 2019, Scotland, which celebrate the top, community-led built projects from across the country and the talent behind them.

Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow, is named Scotland’s ‘Project of the Year’

Image courtesy of Clark Contracts and Fraser Duff at Alexander Fraser Photography

The restoration of the Willow Tea Rooms Building triumphed over 35 of the country’s most inspiring property projects to win the Building Conservation category, before being named the overall Project of the Year, Scotland.  The highly acclaimed title is presented to the category winner that demonstrates outstanding best practice and commitment to adding value to its local area.

Of the project, RICS judges said that incredible care was taken to preserve original features and to faithfully recreate original furniture and fitments through detailed research and use of local artisans and craftsmen.

Since its transformation the Willow Tea Rooms Building in Glasgow has attracted international interest from those wishing to learn more about the Architectural pioneer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Chair of the judging panel for the RICS Awards, ScotlandColin Smith MRICS, said: “Great care and attention to detail was taken during this restoration. Additionally, a Trust was established to manage the building and the £10million used to restore it internally and externally has also been utilised to provide wider long-term community benefits.”

Other winners included the The Garment Factory, Glasgow, which took the Commercial title, the V&A, Dundee, which won the Tourism & Leisure category and the transformation of the Music Hall, Aberdeen, for Community Benefit.

Hosted by Catriona Sheerer, the RICS Awards 2019, Scotland were held on Thursday 2 May - at The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh.

Colin Smith MRICS, added: “A diverse range of innovative projects, of all sizes and budgets, made the shortlist this year and the winners are truly representative of Scotland’s best and most innovative built projects that are having a significant positive impact on their communities. The teams behind these winning projects should be very proud of their exceptional achievements.”

All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on Friday 4 October at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

Celia Sinclair, founder and chair of the Willow Tea Room Trust, said: “We are delighted to accept the award for ‘Project of the Year 2019’. We have worked hard over the last four years to bring this incredible building back to life, a place where people can enjoy fine food in the original Mackintosh interior of 1903 at the restored ‘Mackintosh at the Willow’ and also learn more about the life of Mackintosh and his benefactor Miss Cranston in our visitor and education centre. This award is for everyone who has been involved in the project.”

She added: “Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and private and public donors, the important cultural and rich heritage of the Willow Tea Rooms Building has been conserved and opened up for many more people to enjoy. ‘Mackintosh at the Willow’ is once again a focal point for Cultural Tourism in the City, attracting both domestic and international visitors.”

Full list of winners from RICS Awards 2019, Scotland 

Building Conservation

Winner - Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow  


Winner – The Garment Factory, Glasgow

Community Benefit

Winner – Music Hall Transformation, Aberdeen

Design through Innovation

Winner - The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, Charlestown of Aberlour 

Highly Commended- Bayes Centre, Edinburgh


Winner – Queensferry Crossing, Edinburgh

Highly Commended- Scottish Water - Shieldhall Tunnel, Glasgow


Winner – West Dunbartonshire Council Dumbarton Office, Dumbarton


Winner – The Playfair at Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

Tourism & Leisure

Winner – V&A Dundee, Dundee

Project of the Year 

Winner – Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow

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