Days Out: Ten places to experience architecture in Scotland (Part 2)

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Add a place of architectural and design interest to your ‘to visit’ list this summer! In our second part of the series of Days Out the list, in no particular order, brings together five places that offer the visitors fantastic experiences, as well as a view of recent architecture, across Scotland. Our diverse list ranges from a craft town to a multi-entertainment hub, to a timber pyramid on a scenic route and a restored art deco cinema.

Exterior shot of Mareel, Shetland, by Hoskins Architects, photo by Phatsheep Photography

Mareel, Lerwick

Known locally as the “squinty box”, Shetland’s multi-entertainment hub, which opened in 2012, changed the cultural life of Lerwick overnight. The £13million building, designed by Hoskins architects supported by local firm PJP, houses a cinema, concert venue, recording studio, cafe bar and conference rooms. It won a 2013 RIAS Award, and is one of just five buildings in Scotland to win the RIBA National Award for Architectural Excellence. Perched among fishery warehouses on the Lerwick waterfront, it has been built to withstand rough weather, with an innovative aluminium skin which catches the light. The name means “phosphorescence on the ocean”. (Image courtesy of Hoskins Architects, photo by Phatsheep Photography.)

WHERE: Mareel, Lerwick, ZE1 0WQ

The Barony Centre, West Kilbride

West Kilbride, on the Ayrshire coast, is Scotland’s first accredited Craft Town. A town with a history of weaving, it set out to attract craft designers and makers as part of a regeneration scheme and now has eight craft studios open to the public. The gateway to all this is Barony Centre, housing a shop showcasing locally made crafts, an exhibition space, cafe and activity areas. The C-listed former Barony Church reopened in 2012 after a sensitive £1.2million redevelopment by architecture practice Ingenium Archial, and was shortlisted in the Architects Journal Retrofit Awards 2012. (Image courtesy of The Barony Centre, Photo by David Barbour)

WHERE: The Barony Centre, 50 Main Street, West Kilbride, KA23 9AR

Architecture and Design: Award-winning Scottish Scenic Routes


An Ceann Mor, Inveruglas

It’s one of the most famous views of Loch Lomond, and now it is framed in a new way by the pyramid-shaped viewpoint at Inveruglas, the work of young architectural practice BTE. Both a landmark and a platform from which to view the landscape, the 8m-high timber-clad structure unveiled in Mary 2015 offers panoramic views from its upper deck. An Ceann Mor is one of several such viewpoints created by young designers as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes programme, inspired by the National Tourist Routes initiative in Norway, which aims to promote rural economics and enhance visitor experience of the landscape. (Photo by Ross Campbell)

WHERE: Car park off the A82 opposite Loch Sloy power station

Architecture and Design: Birks Cinema Aberfeldy, Photo by Genie Dee

Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy’s art deco cinema opened its doors on the town’s square in July 1939 in the golden years of Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple. It closed in the 1980s and, after some years as an amusement arcade, sat empty until a group of “film obsessed and cinema deprived local residents” managed to buy it in 2009. Their seven-year fundraising effort, with Alan Cumming as patron, raised £1.8million, enabling a redesign of the building by local architect Robin Baker. It reopened in 2013 as an independent cinema and arts venue, named after the town’s local scenic walk and now hosts a lively programme of new releases, golden oldies, art house films and live screenings, and a cafe bar. In 2014 it won a RIAS Special Category Award for Scotland’s Client of the Year. (Image courtesy of Robin Baker Architects, photo by Genie Dee)

WHERE: Birks Cinema, 1 Dunkeld Street, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DA.

Architecture and Design: Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen, lit up fora charity event.

Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen

The zebra-striped glass exterior of Aberdeen University’s library shimmers during the day and glows softly at night. The ambitious, award-winning building designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen is product of some £57million investment and an important new landmark in the Granite City. Said to be inspired by the ice and light of the North, it contrasts a geometric exterior with organic forms inside, including an open spiral stretching up all eight storeys. While most of the building is a working academic library, visitors are welcome in the public exhibition space on the ground floor which hosts a changing programme. (Image courtesy of University of Aberdeen.)

WHERE: Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen, Bedford Road, AB24 3AA. 


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