THE unveiling of the winners of Scottish Borders Council’s 2011 Design Awards brought good news for Berwickshire with one local property taking home one of the scheme’s top awards and another two also impressing the judging panel.
The award scheme, which is held every two years, was originally established by Borders Regional Council, now SBC and aims to: recognise and publicise examples of good building design; educate and inspire all those involved in new developments and raise the standards of building design.
A total of 14 entries were received this year across the categories of Placemaking, New Build and Works to Existing Buildings and a judging panel including Peter Leggate, one of the trustees who spearheaded the re-development of Greenlaw Town Hall, gave the Design Award for Rural New Build to Leggars Farm in Hume.
The panel commented that the property was a modern interpretation of a traditional Borders farm house, facing south towards the Cheviots.
The restrained colour palette and understated external detailing helps to make the building recede into the landscape from a distance. The internal open plan arrangement flows through the ground floor and the windows are designed to maximise the views to the south and to Hume Castle to the north.
And Legars Farm wasn’t the only Berwickshire build to find favour with the judges. Thistlegorm, Buskins Farm, Coldingham, was given a commendation in the Rural New build with the panel describing it as “a clear example of collaboration between the architect and client to work together to realise a dream.”
The judges particularly liked the linking roof between the main house and the service wing and the tower element which signed the main entrance to the building.
Gunsgreen House, in nearby Eyemouth, also faired well, being named as the recepient of a Special Award for Restoration.
The landmark building has attracted thousands of visitors since it officially opened its doors to the public again last year and the panel commented on the high standard of restoration of the interior of the original house and the associated interpretation; including the presentation of the secrets of smuggling heritage of the house, including the tea chute.
They added: “The internal plan arrangement respects the original Adam plan whilst allowing considerable flexibility in how the house is used. The new rear tower, housing the fire stair and lift is a carefully crafted modern addition which is both functional and clearly expressed.”
Other winners on the day included Laidlaw Court in Galashiels, which received the Design Award for Urban New Build and The Mill, Lewinshope, Yarrowford, which took home the accolade for Award for Work to an Existing Building.
The Design Awards results were revealed at the Scottish Borders Design Forum on Saturday, November 12. The Forum was recently established with the aim of promoting good practice in designing places and buildings throughout the region, and the event saw community representatives, planners, developers and architects come together to take part in some stimulating debate.
The event was attended by over 50 people, with presentations from Karen Anderson, chair of Architecture + Design Scotland (A+DS) who set the national context and Steve Tolson from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who discussed place and development economics.
Berwickshire architects Bain Swan were also represented by Allan Swan who together with fellow Borders architect, Fraser Swalwell, illustrated built examples of good design in the region.