Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

National Museum of Scotland scoops best building award

The National Museum of Scotland
Image caption Judges praised efforts to encourage visitors up through the building

The team behind the refurbishment of the National Museum of Scotland has won the country's top architecture prize.

Gareth Hoskins Architects received the £25,000 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) best building award.

They were chosen from 13 shortlisted projects.

Judges were impressed by the opening up of the basement, with street-level galleries added and visitors encouraged to move up through the building.

The architects received the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award at a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland, said: "Gaining this award underlines the huge success of the redevelopment on every level.

"There has been a phenomenal public response to the transformation of the building, the new displays and the work we have done in making the museum more open and accessible.

"It is wonderful to receive this formal recognition for the work undertaken by Gareth Hoskins and all of the rest of the team."

Presenting the prize, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "Scotland has an international reputation for creativity and innovation, enhanced by the outstanding quality of Scottish architecture.

"This excellence is demonstrated by the record number of schemes shortlisted for this year's award, which inspires ever-higher standards of design by celebrating and recognising the very best of architecture in Scotland."

The National Museum of Scotland reopened to the public in July following a £47.4m refit.

The judges praised the winning project for "ingenuity" in drawing visitors up and through its "superbly restored spaces".

They added: "The original spatial quality of the building has been brilliantly recovered with a skilful play of light and movement through its spaces.

"All this is achieved with such subtlety that even some expert critics have failed to fully comprehend the care which has gone into its execution."

Other buildings shortlisted for the prize included Hillhead Primary School in Glasgow, Linlithgow Burgh Halls and the Houl, a zero carbon house set into a hillside in Dumfriesshire.

Seven of the final 13 projects received special mentions.

Prof Andy MacMillan, who chaired the judging, said: "Every year the submissions for this award demonstrate the superb architectural skills we are blessed with in Scotland.

"This shortlist was full of subtle, intelligent, beautiful buildings which their users love. That is what it should be all about."

Previous winners include the former cooperative halls building in Shettleston in Glasgow, a pet hospital and the Maggie's Cancer Care Centre in Inverness.

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