Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries claims Scotland’s best building award

THE Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries has won the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2017.

Designed by Richard Murphy Architects and built by BAM Construction, the project fought off competition from eleven other shortlisted schemes. The winner receives a gold medal cast by renowned goldsmith, James Brent Ward and a cheque for £25,000. RIAS said this makes it the richest architectural prize in the UK. The award is supported by the late Andrew Doolan’s family and the Scottish Government.

The judges were RIAS President, Stewart Henderson PRIAS, professor Sue Roaf FRIAS, recently retired professor of architectural engineering at Heriot-Watt University and Susie Stirling, head of placemaking & housing in the Scottish Government’s planning and architecture department. The full judges’ citation for the winning project reads:

“In 2007 Richard Murphy Architects won a competition for a major new cultural hub in Dunfermline’s historic centre.  The new building is organised along a top-lit internal street, criss-crossed by bridges. To provide access an adjacent car park was redesigned as a walled garden leading to an entrance courtyard. External materials are sandstone, oak and Corten steel, acknowledging the town’s industrial heritage and the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, after whom the building is named.

“Internally the new spaces connect with the existing library, reference rooms repurposed as events spaces. At the lower level the local history reading room is organised in three tiers.  The children’s library, opens directly onto the garden.  On the floor above the café’s terraces offers views over the Abbey.  Above is a double level, barrel vaulted museum and three flexible art galleries. The circulation ‘architectural promenade’ offers key views of significant historic buildings, culminating in a cube window framing views of the Abbey.”

The award was presented at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland by Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, alongside Margaret Doolan Hon FRIAS (the late Andrew Doolan’s mother).

Fiona Hyslop said, “Last year the RIAS-led national Festival of Architecture focussed international attention on Scottish architecture and the quality of the shortlist for this year’s RIAS Andrew Doolan Award illustrates again the continuing excellence of new architecture in Scotland.

I am always delighted to announce the winner of the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award and, in this Year of history, heritage and archaeology, the quality of the winner and of all the shortlisted projects illustrate that we are building a future heritage in Scotland that we can truly be proud of.”