Local buildings held up as good examples

Pictured: Merchants House after the regeneration project was completed
Pictured: Merchants House after the regeneration project was completed

TWO BRECHIN developments are being held up as examples of good design practice after their inclusion in the Dundee Institute of Architects (DIA) annual awards.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Angus Council’s development standards committee, infrastructure services director Eric Lowson cited eight projects across the county that had been through the authority’s planning process and nominated for awards.

A housing extension by Garry Adam Chartered Architect at 1, Chanonry Wynd in Brechin received the award for the Best Use of Timber, and was also nominated for Best Small Project.

Merchant’s House in Brechin’s High Street received a commendation for the Best Regeneration / Conservation award as a result of design work carried out by JFS Architects.

Before its regeneration the Merchant’s House, an A-listed building, had become a blot in the High Street, having lain empty for 40 years.

The Merchant’s House, situated within the City’s Conservation Area, was identified as one of seven priority projects by the Townscape Heritage Initiative primarily due to its poor condition, location, high costs to restore and its historic significance.

The oldest part of the building dates back to 1575, and the rear wing dating to 1717, the roof beams date back a further 100 years.

Merchant’s House was the site of a Royal visit to Brechin in October last year when His Royal Highness Prince Charles viewed the building in his role as president of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which helped fund the regeneration.

In his report on the DIA recognition to councillors, Mr Lowson said that good design improves quality of life, increases safety and civic pride and addresses challenges in reducing carbon emissions.

He also said that all new development will play a part in delivering the council’s ‘Vision for Angus’ and its future success as a sustainable, economically viable and high quality place to live and work.

He said: “Improving the quality of new development across Angus is an important objective in its own right, but its achievement could also help to improve our economic prosperity by improving our image and quality of life and encouraging people to live, visit and invest in Angus.

“Each of these projects contributes towards the built environment of Angus and their design achievement is to be applauded and encouraged.

“However, improving the design and layout of medium to large scale housing developments remains a key challenge.

“In this respect aspects such as integration with local landscape character, connections with the surrounding area, movement through the area for pedestrians and cyclists, street pattern and building lines and efficient use of resources including built and natural features are key elements of creating successful places which need to be better considered and improved.”

Mr Lowson added that there continues to be “strong demand” for housing in the open countryside and the design, quality and character of new development will play a large part in shaping communities and quality of life for decades to come.

Design across Angus were recognised by the DIA awards. In Montrose, a new office building and apartment at Traill Drive for Account Tax Ltd/Yorsipp was put forward for the Best Commercial/Private Client award, Best Public/Commercial Building award and Best Use of Timber while ‘The Stables’, in Commercial Close was nominated in the Best Residential Project category.

The Voigt Partnership Ltd., the design team behind Erskine Church in Arbroath, was awarded the Best Public / Commercial Building. South Esk Barn in Oathlaw was highly commended in the Best Residential Project category and in the category for Best Use of Timber.

The Bivvi, Passive House in Auchterhouse was the winner of the Bes Residential Project, and also received the Supreme Award from DIA