Winners of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards 2023 Announced

Dumfries and Galloway Council is delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Design Awards, recognising outstanding architectural and design achievements in the region. The prestigious awards aim to celebrate and honour remarkable projects that contribute to the enhancement of the built environment in Dumfries and Galloway.

This year’s awards are for development or building works completed between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2023 (as development slowed down in the last few years due to lockdown restrictions, so the 2023 Design Awards cover four years).

The winners were selected from a strong pool of candidates, showcasing the diverse and innovative design talent within the area. The judging panel, comprised of esteemed professionals from the fields of architecture, planning, and design, carefully reviewed each submission and assessed them against various criteria, including sustainability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is committed to promoting excellence in architecture and ensuring that our region continues to thrive with beautifully designed buildings and spaces. Dumfries and Galloway Council believe that good design should be accessible to all and that it can positively impact our quality of life. By recognising and celebrating exceptional architectural projects, we aim to inspire others to strive for excellence in their designs.
Dumfries and Galloway Council would like to extend congratulations to all the winners and express gratitude to all the participants for their exceptional submissions. These projects exemplify the commitment to design excellence and contribute significantly to the overall quality of life in Dumfries and Galloway.


Speaking on behalf of the independent judging panel, Mark Douglas said:
“The judging panel was delighted that this year’s Design Awards attracted 35 entrants from across the region and covered a variety of projects, large and small, including the reuse of existing buildings as well as new build projects. It was a daunting task to draw up a short list of projects to visit over two days, which given the geographic spread of the entries was limited to a total of 14 projects. We acknowledged the work that all entrants had undertaken in submitting their entries and enjoyed looking at all these, all of which had merits – there was definitely a strong theme of sustainability running through all the projects from both clients/end users and designers.
Architecture plays a vital role in shaping the character and identity of a place. It has the power to inspire, uplift, and create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and sustainable. Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards serve as a platform to acknowledge the architects, designers, and construction professionals who have made significant contributions to our built environment across the region. It is hoped that the projects that have been given awards and commendations can be used as positive examples of good design to encourage future developments in the region.
As we come together to celebrate the Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards, let us appreciate the beauty and significance of architecture in our lives. May this event serve as a reminder of the impact that good design can have on our communities and inspire us to continue creating spaces that are both visually stunning and functionally efficient.”


Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee Chair, Cllr Ian Carruthers, said:
“I am delighted to be a part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards 2023. This event provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the outstanding architectural achievements in our region. The awards not only showcase the talent and creativity of architects and professionals but also highlight the importance of good design in our communities.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all the architects, designers, and construction professionals who have taken part in this year’s Design Awards. Your dedication, passion, and innovation have truly transformed the architectural landscape of Dumfries and Galloway.”

Cllr David Inglis, Vice Chair of the Economy and Resources Committee, said:
“I congratulate all the winners and nominees of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards. The Design Awards are an opportunity to highlight the outstanding projects that have transformed our towns, villages, and landscapes. It’s a chance to celebrate the unique character and heritage of Dumfries and Galloway, while also embracing contemporary design and innovation.
I encourage everyone to explore the remarkable architectural achievements within Dumfries and Galloway. The Design Awards showcase some of the very best of what our region has to offer, and I am confident that they will continue to inspire and drive innovation in the years to come.”


Project, designers, owners, contractors Independent Judging Panel: Comments RESULT

1 New Housing, Castle Crescent, Closeburn

John Gilbert Architects
Nith Valley LEAF Trust – owners
South of Scotland Community Homes
(Stewart & Shields contractor now gone out of business) Although a modest terrace of only three units, the panel recognised the positive impact of this small scheme; well designed to Passivhaus standards and one of the first community-owned homes.

The judges also liked the simple introduction of colour to allow the individual houses to be clearly identified and how the redevelopment of the site creates a frontage to the village green opposite. AWARD

2 Replacement house at Hazelrig, by Balmaclellan

Graeme Ditchburn Architect & Simon Winstanley Architects*
Colin and Susan Nimmo – owners
Gary McKeand, GM Construction

* Simon Winstanley retired in 2018, and, sadly, died in 2021, but was part of the design team at the outset. This is a “tour-de-force” new private house, replacing an earlier house on a wooded site looking out over open countryside.

The client had a very clear-cut brief for an exemplary energy-efficient building and the panel was impressed by the attention to detail inside and out and the high standard of workmanship achieved. AWARD

3 New house, Hemp House, Gatehouse of Fleet

Rachel Bevan – architect
AG Turnbull & S Walter – owners
George Shaw Associates – contractors The new house was designed to make maximum use of the sloping site leading down to the river and was built with a real passion to minimise its environmental impact, both through the use of Hempcrete (which afforded the opportunity of delightful “rounded” junctions and enables good temperature control in both winter and summer) and locally sourced reused materials.

The panel recognised the very individual nature of this energy-efficient house. AWARD

4 New café building, The Gather, Laggan

Adam James, New Space Architecture
Duncan McConchie – owner
3B Construction The judges appreciated the choice of location for the new café taking full advantage of the southerly view to the Islands of Fleet, the name “The Gather” was a reminder of a former use of the site to gather the sheep and there were some echoes of this past use of the site in the new building where corrugated iron panels were used in the bar.

The panel particularly liked how the internal and external elements were thoughtfully integrated, with the outside seating area set down into the ground to minimise its impact. The building itself is a simple timber clad box with a fully glazed façade and is unobtrusive in the landscape setting.

5 Conversion and remodelling at Glentrool Hive (former school)

John Gilbert Architects
Glentrool & Bargrennan Community Trust
Broatch Construction The school dates back to 1954 and has been transformed by the Glentrool and Bargrennan Community Trust in the Glentrool Hive.

The judges were impressed by the way that the Trust had used the development of the Hive as a core integrated regeneration project in the heart of the village. The provision of a holiday let within the Hive both provided a welcome visitor facility and also provided some core income to support the community use. The original school building has been externally clad in timber with great care taken to extend the eaves and window surrounds.

The Hive also manages the surrounding former school playing field as a natural open space with allotments.

6 Re-use of a historic building and associated redevelopment of the site for holiday accommodation, Borgue of original Category A, Coo Palace

Joel Pinnington, JMP Architects Ltd
HPB (Holiday Property Bond)
3B Construction The Category A listed Coo Palace was originally built as a “model” cow house for his 12 belted Galloways by the local laird just before the First World War. Sadly, in recent years it had fallen out of use and was in poor condition and featured on the “Buildings at Risk Register” for many years.

The panel welcomed the redevelopment of the farm, by the Holiday Property Bond, which includes new holiday accommodation in a traditional style and a club room in a more contemporary style. It however still allows the Coo Palace, which has been completely restored with great attention to detail, to read as the dominant feature in the landscape, and the whole complex is powered by a biomass boiler.

7 Conversion and extension for re-use of former Harbour master’s Office, Stranraer –

Jamie Bateman, Smith Scott Mullan Associates
Dumfries & Galloway Council – Property Services and Stranraer CARS project officer Pam Taylor

Enterprising DG – no longer in business Originally built as the harbour office in an Art Deco style in the 1930s, the building has now found a new life as a Harbour Centre to promote local tourism and businesses.

The panel appreciated how the new extension connected to the original building by a glazed link, echoed the architectural style, and allowed the clock tower to remain the dominant feature, in part assisted by the external landscaping with bench seating centred on the tower. COMMENDATION

8 Replacement house at Whitehill, Kirkandrews

Graeme Ditchburn Architect
Rob and Anna Hale – owners
Gary McKeand, GM Construction Once the owners had taken the bold decision to take down the remains of the farm building on the site, the brief for the new house was very straightforward – an energy-efficient house, taking advantage of the sea views to the south and west. The result is a simple and effective building that with its slated roof fits into the landscape. The interior has been designed to accommodate the client’s needs, with contrasting light, spacious and dark, cosy spaces. COMMENDATION

9 Conversion of category B stables and associated housing development at Lincluden Stables

Douglas Bodell, Robert Potter and Partners Ltd
Wheatley Homes South, Denise Peat
Ashleigh (Scotland) Limited
The panel welcomed the bringing back into use of the former Category B stables for residential use and the associated “enabling” development of new social housing, with the use of glazed brick to unify the scheme.

There was some concern about the dominance of the roadways in the development, in particular the uncertainty of parking areas with unprotected trees, but the re-use of the building and architecture of the scheme was considered worthy of commendation.

10 Off-grid Woodland hut, Clifton and Black Sea Woods

John Murray Architect
Adam & Susan Gillingham, owners

Neil Hutchison, PRS Building Contractors [no longer in business] A unique property erected at the edge of a woodland holding to take advantage of both the views to the south and to maximise the potential of PV electrical generation – the hut is completely off-grid.

The panel liked the light touch installation using timber posts and how the building was broken down into smaller linked components to minimise its impact.

Please note: there will be a display of Design Award 2023 entries at the Ewart Library from 25 September to 9 October.

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