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Issued: 7 February 2003

Angus Design Awards 2002

Arbroath Abbey visitor centre is the winner of the prestigious 2002 Angus Design Awards.

This is the second time the awards scheme has been organised by Angus Council to recognise and encourage good quality design in the county.

As with the first awards in 2000, the standard of entries was excellent with 12 projects completed within the previous two years put forward for the competition.

Six shortlisted entries were chosen by the judging panel - with representatives from the academic world, architectural practice and the Angus community - and visited on site.

From these a final three commended entries and one overall award winner were selected.

The design award adds to the accolades already received for the £1.8 million Arbroath Abbey visitor centre, which opened in 2001 and reveals the fascinating story of the Abbey and its central place in Scottish history.

Commissioned by Angus Council, on behalf of the Abbey Partnership which comprised the funding partners of Angus Council, Historic Scotland and Scottish Enterprise Tayside, the building was designed by Edinburgh-based architects, Simpson and Brown. Funding was also awarded under the European Regional Development Fund's East of Scotland Objective 2 Programme.

Clachan Construction carried out the building work which included high quality masonry in natural sandstone. In giving the overall award to the visitor centre, the judges commented that whilst the building is an "innovative design" it "fits well with the Abbey and adjacent buildings". The Arbroath Abbey Visitor Centre has previously received awards from the local Chapter of the RIAS and the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland.

The three commendations which were made were for conservation of a historic building, one for new build and one for regeneration of an existing building.

Careful conservation of 18th century farm steadings and a doocot for the Pitmuies Partnership received one of the commendations.

The work was designed and managed by Glamis-based James F Stephen Architects and expertly carried out by specialist historic buildings contractor, Ian Cumming and Co Ltd of Perth. Historic Scotland awarded a grant towards the cost of the conservation work. The judges considered the project to be "an object lesson in good building conservation".

James F Stephen Architects managed another building project that received a commendation. The judging panel described the brand new Thrums Veterinary's Surgery in Kirriemuir as having a "good feeling of space internally and externally”. Commissioned by the Thrums Veterinary group, this fine modern building was built by Taycon Construction Ltd of Dundee.

The third commendation went to the Legion Hall in Newtyle. Architect France Smoor, who lives at Gagie, used his expertise in ecological design and his creativity as an architect to regenerate the Legion Hall.

The project maximises energy efficiency and includes a ‘cloister’ at the rear. In making the commendation, the judges said, "the ‘green’ credentials of the designer are clearly expressed throughout this design". The work was commissioned by the Legion Hall Trustees and was constructed by J and C Contracts. Specialist lime mortar work was undertaken by Earth Works Ltd of Alyth.

Announcing the winners at a ceremony in Forfar’s Town and County Hall Angus Provost Mrs Frances Duncan commented: “All building projects require a client with the vision to commission the work, a designer with the skill to shape the client’s vision and builders with the skill to put the building on the ground.

”The Angus Design Awards scheme recognises the role everyone has to play in the process of achieving good design. This investment helps put Angus on the map, and will build on the strong civic pride which already exists in the county. ”

Councillor Stewart McGlynn, Angus Development Control Convener, commented: “I am delighted with the Design Awards Scheme which I am sure will help to raise the standard of building design in Angus. We are fortunate in having many well-loved traditional buildings which have been passed on to us by previous generations. I hope that we will be able to promote and create good modern buildings which will be valued by future generations.”

The other two shortlisted buildings were the regeneration of 30-32 New Wynd, Montrose which was overseen by John D Crawford Architectural Services of Montrose on behalf of New Wynd Properties. Kwikbuild of Arbroath carried out the work including re-use of the original 18th century roof trusses.

The judges also shortlisted the extension to Marclann Cottage, near Arbirlot for Professor and Mrs Rowley. Architect Rodger Brunton created a conservatory which the judges described as an "innovative and bold approach". The conservatory was built by Derek McNulty Joiners of Arbroath.