Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland reveal 2023 Doolan Award winner

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland reveal 2023 Doolan Award winner

Cuddymoss – a ‘building within a ruin’ in north Ayrshire designed by Ann Nisbet Studio – has been named as the winner of the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award by the RIAS.

Learn more about Cuddymoss in this fantastic short film by Jim Stephenson:

At Cuddymoss, Ann Nisbet Studio has made new use of a ruined agricultural building in the remote Ayrshire landscape – seeking to retain as much of the dilapidated ruin as possible, and acknowledging its connections with the landscape and those who worked the land. With the client viewing his role as a custodian rather than an owner, the design avoids domesticating or over-romanticising the building, and instead preserves its existing character through a simple and restrained approach.

The intervention within the ruin sits back from the existing stone structure, creating deep reveals in the original openings. Designed in collaboration with the homeowner – a passionate birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast – the practice’s approach welcomes a close connection with nature, with an old window ledge in the ruin being left untouched, to invite owls in to roost at night. Inside, windows have been carefully positioned in such a way that the Ayrshire landscape feels as if it is entering the building. A new extension also sits alongside the ruin – matching its form and clad in silver-toned timber cladding so as to almost dissolve visually into the landscape.

The Doolan Award judges – Tracy Meller (RSHP), Ellie Stathaki (Wallpaper*) and Chris Stewart (RIAS) – praised how the simplicity of the building concept has been realised with clarity, care and playfulness by Ann Nisbet Studio, and were impressed by the project’s deep respect for the lifespan of the ruin – from its history to possible future uses.

The three other shortlisted projects for the 2023 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award were:

  • Campus Central at the University of Stirling by PagePark Architects
  • Hundred Acre Wood in Argyll and Bute by Denizen Works
  • Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews by Flanagan Lawrence.

Named in memory of its founder and patron, the architect/developer Andrew Doolan, who died in 2004, the award would not exist without Andy Doolan’s extraordinary generosity and vision, and his family have kindly continued their support. The Scottish Government also generously supports the award.

More about this announcement and the winning project, can be read on Architecture Today.