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First ever Cairngorms National Park Design Award winners announced

30th November 2012

The winners of the first ever Design Awards in the Cairngorms National Park have been announced at a celebration event for all entrants in Boat of Garten Community Hall.

The judging panel had a tough job, first whittling entries down to a shortlist of 20 and have announced three overall winners:

•    NEW HOUSE AT EASTER TOMBAIN, near Grantown-on-Spey

Managing Director – Samantha Faircliffe
Architect – Neil Sutherland

In order to help with the expansion of the business, Cairngorm Brewery expanded to create a new bottling plant, storage facilities and office space at their site in Aviemore. The brewery company is committed to its location in the National Park, and has a robust environmental policy.  This ethos has underpinned the choices in the design and construction of their expanded premises.

JUDGES’ VERDICT: This development shows that you can build a functional industrial unit that has environmental credentials at its heart and which is worthy of its location in the middle of the National Park.

Samantha Faircliffe, Managing Director at Cairngorm Brewery said: “We are over the moon to have won.  Despite being at the entrance to Dalfaber Industrial Estate, we wanted to disguise our industrial shed to be more in-keeping with its surroundings.  The locally sourced larch cladding (from Rothiemurchus Estate) has now weathered to a silver grey and fits in nicely behind the Aspens.  Deciding to maximise on the insulation in the walls of the Warehouse and Bottling Hall was definitely the right decision to ensure we kept our energy costs down.  Even when it is -29 outside, the beer does not freeze!
“It is always good to know that the efforts we make to be as environmentally sustainable as we possibly can be, are recognised.  Receiving this award does not mean that we will sit back on our laurels – there is always more that can be done.”

Main contractor – AW Laing Ltd, Grantown-on-Spey
Architect – MAKE architects, Edinburgh

This new house was built on the site of a ruined steading, to the north of Grantown-on-Spey.  It occupies a very exposed location with spectacular views over the Cairngorms. The innovative design makes the most of the surroundings, using stone from the ruin on the site and incorporates both traditional and modern elements of architecture.

JUDGES’ VERDICT: The design of this building makes the most of the spectacular views from the site and the windows are positioned to maximise both light and solar gain in the house. The quality of the worksmanship throughout the property is excellent with very crisp detailing formed by the timber elements of the building.

Geoff Laing from AW Laing Limited said: “AW Laing Ltd would like to sincerely thank all those involved in selecting us for this prestigious award. It is very gratifying that five of the twenty projects shortlisted have been built by AW Laing.
Awards are special as they recognise achievement and that is what our business is all about. Aiming to achieve the best possible result for our clients and creating something we can both/all be proud of.
We are fortunate to work with superb and innovative architects and great tradesmen. This award is a testimony to the clients trust, the architects foresight and outstanding workmanship. We must also thank our loyal employees and hard working friendly office staff who are often the client’s first point of contact with the business.”

Owners and designers – David and Valery Dean
Construction – Rob Clarke and Dave Robson, Grantown-on-Spey

The Woodman’s hut is a small eco-retreat and forms part of the Lazy Duck campsite and hostel complex in Nethybridge. The hut was hand crafted and most of the timber for the fitted furniture, window sills and casements is made from a 260 year old Caledonian pine tree which was growing on the site until it had to be taken down due to snow damage.  It has a composting toilet, an outdoor shower, a wood fuel stove for heating which uses thinnings from the woodland on site, rainwater is collected in whisky barrels for all water needs (except drinking) and lighting is provided by candles and a 12 volt LED system that is recharged using solar power.

JUDGES’ VERDICT: This is a wonderful example of how imagination and innovation can be brought to what is a relatively simple hut in the woods.

The Woodman’s Hut team at the Lazy Duck Hostel said: “When the design and building relationship stretches back thirty years as it does between Rob Clarke of Grantown and ourselves we can only feel very fortunate that he was once again available to translate our plan for this unusual holiday accommodation into reality.  The proof of its success has been amply demonstrated in this its first year of operation during which time nearly half of those visitors who have stayed in the Woodman’s Hut either have returned within twelve months or have intimated they are planning to.  We are thrilled that the judges have seen fit to recognise such a small, low budget highly eco conscious vacation dwelling.”

The judging panel was chaired by architect, Roddy Langmuir and he was joined by architect Ben Tindall. Also on the panel were Roger Clegg, Chairman of the Association of Cairngorms Communities (AoCC) as well as CNPA board convener Duncan Bryden and vice convener of the CNPA Planning Committee, Peter Argyle.

As well as the overall winners, 12 entries were awarded commendations. They are:

•    The Dipper, near Grantown on Spey
•    Fae Bothy, Dorback Estate
•    Croft of Clachaig, near Nethy Bridge
•    Aundorach Steading, Tulloch
•    Creagan Gorm Cottages, Glenmore
•    Ardgeal Housing, near Kincraig
•    Aviemore Community Primary School
•    MacIntosh House, Duthill
•    Bellabeg House, Strathdon
•    Burn o’ Vat view point
•    Glen Doll Ranger Base
•    Pond at 10 Station Cottages, Kingussie

Roddy Langmuir said: “The judging panel have been really impressed by the interest in the awards scheme and through this the interest in what good design can do for individuals, for businesses, for communities and for visitors to the Cairngorms National Park. The really valuable part of design quality is not the more obvious, superficial, qualities of materials and surfaces but how well a building fits its intended purpose and how well it relates this purpose to the BIG landscape of the Park. Our award winners are exemplary in showing how a passion for the place can inspire an excellent project.”

Duncan Bryden added: “I really want to thank all those who entered our first Cairngorms National Park Design Awards. Without their time and effort there would be no Awards. The measure of any great place where people live and work is in the quality of the design and construction of its buildings and public spaces. In different ways the three splendid winners bring the design simplicity and effectiveness we need in the National Park.”

Each of the 56 entries was considered against a number of criteria and in all cases had to reflect the principles of good design set out in the Cairngorms National Park Sustainable Design Guide. The criteria included:

•    use of locally available / sourced materials
•    use of local people in the design and construction of the development
•    how environmentally friendly it is
•    how it contributes to the special place that is the Cairngorms National Park
•    how it relates to what is around it, whether that be other buildings, or the wider landscape its relationship with its surroundings
•    how well it makes use of  existing materials on the site, or reuses materials from elsewhere maintaining or re-use of resources
•    creativity and innovation – not an off the shelf solution, but one which makes the most of its individual location
•    affordability

Visit our Design Awards web page.