Borders restoration project celebrates double award success

A community trust restoration and refurbishment project that breathed new life into a Borders railway station building, is celebrating two award wins.

The design of the project was created and developed by Galashiels-based Aitken Turnbull Architects. The scheme has been honoured with both a Scottish Borders Design Award and a national Network Rail Community Building Award.

The project resulted from a local campaign and effort by Stow Community Trust to acquire the lease of the Stow Station House. The building had been earmarked for demolition, as part of the reinstatement of the Waverley Line, however it has been saved and redeveloped. The Stow Community Trust had campaigned for years to secure it and raise funds to refurbish it.

This tenacity has paid off with Stow Community Trust picking up two accolades – The Scottish Borders Design Award for Works to an Existing Building, and The Network Rail Community Building Award from the Railway Heritage Awards, where a plaque has been unveiled in Stow Station House, highlighting the Trust for ‘the restoration, refurbishment or other improvement of a station of building either by a community group, or for a community use which connects communities and promotes social inclusion’.

Having secured the building, the Trust now plans to create a community bistro, bar/meeting space and cycle hub/workshop.

Aitken Turnbull Architects was initially appointed to conceptualise and develop the design and then head up the design team to realise the project.

Ben Glennon, lead architect on the project, revealed a key aspect of the brief was to retain and enhance the character of the existing building whilst maintaining the ‘heritage’ element of the structure and blend this with the new extension that would complement this and house main bistro space.

He said, “The new extension has an exposed structure internally which acknowledges the bygone era of industrial railway building architecture but blends seamlessly with openness, vibrancy, and innovation. The modern design enhances the overall appeal of the building.

“The project is a fantastic example of an ability to create a high quality and aesthetically pleasing design on a prominent trackside site and one that retains the history and heritage of the Waverley Line for the benefit of the community for future generations.”

Grace Murray from Stow Community Trust added, “Throughout the development of Stow Station House that resulted in an award-winning development, Stow Community Trust worked closely with colleagues from Aitken Turnbull. The team was responsive and helpful throughout, and we are delighted with the result.”

Aitken Turnbull added that it is pleased to recognise the efforts of Stow Community Trust, quantity surveyors Thomson Gray, civil & structural engineers Will Rudd Davidson, local business services company Waverley M&E, and contractor James Swinton and Sons who all helped deliver the successful outcome.