University building wins architecture prize

Friday 23 July 2021

A University of St Andrews building in Guardbridge has won an award in the Scottish Design Awards.

Walter Bower House, named after Scottish medieval historian Walter Bower who trained at the University in the 15th century, received the award for the Architecture: Building Re-use category.

The building was created out of several former paper mill buildings which formed part of the old Curtis Fine Papers on the Guardbridge site, which spans approximately 15 hectares of land now known as the University’s Eden Campus.

The renovations were completed earlier this year and brought together all the University’s professional services for the first time.

The British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification system is an international scheme which provides independent third party certification of sustainability.

Andy Walsh, Head of Development (Technical and Commercial) in the Estates department at the University, said: “It is fantastic to receive this recognition of design quality, particularly in the building re-use category.

“The BREEAM Excellent rating also demonstrates the sustainable approach taken to completely refurbish these buildings and make them modern, flexible and fit for purpose.”

Unoccupied for a decade, many of the former mill buildings were saved and renovated by the University.

Walter Bower House is the second building to be brought back to use following the construction of an Energy Centre in 2017, itself an award-winning building, which provides heat to buildings in Guardbridge and St Andrews.

Walter Bower House offers a double height entrance reception, approximately 7000 square metres of open plan office space, flexible meeting space, a gym, library storage, a café and conference facilities.

The University worked closely with designer, Atkins, and contractor, Graham Construction, to sympathetically develop and refurbish these buildings, maintaining the continuous frontage along Main Street.

Throughout the project it was a priority to retain as much of the existing building’s materials and character as possible, to ensure the industrial history of the site was maintained.

The sympathetic renovation re-used slate from the site, reclaimed and media blasted sections of previously painted existing brick work, and added western cedar cladding.

Other buildings are under construction at the site to create space for entrepreneurs as well as research and development facilities for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) including capacity to create product prototypes.

These facilities will allow SMEs and academics to collaborate on innovative solutions to energy creation, carbon capture and utilisation to drive down carbon emissions and support climate initiatives.

The Scottish Design Awards are organised by Urban Realm, a body of architecture press in Scotland, in partnership with media brand The Drum.

The awards cover a variety of design and architecture categories and are open for entries to buildings, projects and design in Scotland as well as work by Scottish architects, engineers and designers based anywhere.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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