Winners announced in A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2015

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Neal Whitaker from the University of Strathclyde won the RIAS Rowand Anderson Silver Medal for the Best Scottish Student with his design for a sustainable brickmaking company in a Mumbai slum. The best 3rd year student was Jordan McCrae from ESALA who proposed a response to knit together the fragmented nature of Dalmarnock’s urban fabric to support the local community.

These were just some of the student projects awarded at the annual Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS) and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Scottish Student Awards for Architecture. The winners
 were announced at a ceremony held at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, on Thursday July 16th.

The awards – now in their 13th year – recognise the talent of student architects and are awarded in a number of categories. Winning projects included an adaptable framework for a rapidly developing South American city, designs for tidal power generation in Orkney and strategies to purify and rehabilitate the Spree in Berlin to bring its residents back to its river.

The award ceremony followed the Inaugural Andy MacMillan lecture in honour of the late Professor Andy MacMillan (1928-2014) celebrating his legacy. The lecture was delivered by this year’s guest judge Japanese architect Professor Hiroaki Kimura. Professor Kimura completed his PhD at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, supervised by his late friend Andy MacMillan.

Following the awards ceremony the winning and shortlisted students’ work will be on display in The Lighthouse, offering a rare opportunity for the public and profession to see the best work of students from all of Scotland’s Schools of Architecture together in one space.

Speaking about the Awards, A&DS Deputy Chair Graham Ross said “A&DS is delighted to continue to collaborate with RIAS to highlight the high quality of work from the best of Scotland’s architecture students. A&DS aims to support emerging practitioners and these awards, and the supporting exhibition, allow the profession and public to see the high standard emerging from our schools of architecture.”

RIAS Past President Iain Connelly commented “Our annual student awards mark the extraordinarily high quality of architectural education in Scotland. Students from throughout the world come here because of the excellent training that is on offer. Scotland’s five schools of architecture are major contributors to the evolution of architecture across the planet.”

The 2015 Winners, Commended Entries and Judges Comments:

RIAS Rowand Anderson Silver Medal for Best Scottish Student

Winner: Neal Whitaker – University of Strathclyde – The Continuing Story of Kumbharwada

This is a humanitarian thesis, a manifesto for local empowerment. While the developed architectural forms are well beyond mere functional requirements, this is an enlightened and sophisticated expression of a big ambition. The proposition is that social justice be delivered through an accomplished, architectural approach.


Robert Hebblethwaite – ESALA

The re-use of existing infrastructure as a mechanism for alternative energy generation taken one step further. Using the product locally reduces the need for expensive transmission infrastructure and strengthens the local economy. These ideas are carefully expressed in a series of high quality drawings, including powerful cutaways and axial images.

Finn Wilkie – Mackintosh School of Architecture

Abstract forms are translated into practical, realised, ambitious architecture. Particular praise for the analytical rigour in an overall strong and considered approach. These designs are firmly rooted in multiple contexts.

Architecture + Design Scotland Award for Best 3rd Year Student

General Comments:

The judges were particularly impressed by the high standard of this category. This was a very strong field and although there was consensus on the winner, the competition between these thorough, well-researched and well-presented schemes was high.

Winner: Jordan McCrae – ESALA – Civic Framing + Flows

“A thoroughly appropriate project for this context, underpinned by a strong strategic approach. Crisp, visually alluring, drawings articulate the idea and its development superbly well. This is an extremely accomplished and well resolved scheme.”


Pavol Dzurjanik – University of Strathclyde

A highly accomplished and enjoyable submission. Two strong schemes expressing original thought in an articulate set of drawings. The observatory project in particular was a great idea, demonstrated in compelling imagery.

Hugh Ebdy – University of Dundee

This is a powerful 21st century response to familiar university typologies. Strong visuals clearly express the learning environment which is being promulgated. The consideration of urban design issues is well communicated. A spirited re-interpretation of traditional built forms, underpinned by strong ideas.

Architecture + Design Scotland Urban Design Award

General Comments:
The judges were frustrated by the fact that a significant number of submissions lacked a truly urban design strategic approach or were simply projects in the urban context.


Neal Hemingway and Vincent Hon – University of Strathclyde
VIA CAMBA: Public Infrastructure for social change

“There is clarity and confidence in the depiction of this strategy for urban transport nodes. This scheme, for a densely inhabited barrio within a South American city, has a social conscience, encouraging patronage of public transport, demonstrative of economic good sense and the reinforcement of social cohesion.”

Jack Taylor – Mackintosh School of Architecture
“This is an impressive piece of work. A well-presented and articulated strategy, communicated through strong graphics. The manifesto is laudable, as is the energy with which it is demonstrated.”

A&DS Sust. Award for Sustainable Design

Robert Hebblethwaite – ESALA
The Churchill Engine

“The project fuses a robust, well-researched, technical argument with a focus on local economic benefit. Different scenarios are tested towards a solution which is very much focussed on community in its emphasis. Well-drawn and clearly expressed, the technical arguments are well made.”

Neal Whitaker – University of Strathclyde
“This scheme proposed as well considered approach to improving living conditions in Mumbai. This is an architectural manifesto for socio-economic regeneration, clearly articulated and well expressed.”
The RIAS Andy MacMillan Drawing Award

Holly Gardner – Mackintosh School of Architecture
‘Impluvia on Fischerinsel’

“A consistent and cohesive portfolio of work. These extremely atmospheric drawings demonstrate a mature approach and convey a strong personal architectural identity.

Jordan McCrae – ESALA
“These easily read and understood drawings are crisply detailed, immediate and alluring.”

Michael MacFarlane – Mackintosh School of Architecture
“These hand drawings are highly sensitive and demonstrate a careful focus on context.”

Hugh Ebdy – University of Dundee
“Strong, emphatic graphics provide clear and articulate communication.”

Jack Taylor – Mackintosh School of Architecture
“These energetic images are appropriate to both the philosophy of the project and the spirit of Berlin.”

This year’s A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture Exhibition will be on show in The Lighthouse, Glasgow from 17 July – 23 September, 2015.

This year’s judges were:

Iain Connelly, PPRIAS, President RIAS 2013-2015
Ian Gilzean, Chief Architect, Scottish Government
Professor Hiroaki Kimura, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan
Graham Ross, Deputy Chair, Architecture and Design Scotland.

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