Blog: Supporting Quality Places to Create a Legacy – Ann Allen, Chair of A&DS

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In this blog post Ann Allen, Chair of A&DS, reflects on her first weeks in her new post and the opportunities ahead to achieve quality in the built environment.

(October 2018) It is less than a month since I formally took over as the Chair of Architecture Design Scotland. The very first thing I must do is to say thank you to Karen for all the work that she has done over the last eight years.

Following the announcement of my appointment I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted me and shown interest in A&DS. This bodes well for the future. It will widen the organisation’s network and build on our existing very strong foundations.

I believe that I am taking on this role at a very interesting time for the built environment in Scotland as we see the emergence of a new planning system and a continuing debate on quality in the built environment.

Quality and Adding Value 

I see an industry-wide debate evolving on quality – in terms of design, buildability and construction. We should all engage in this, as it is at the heart of how we deliver a built environment which has longevity, can leave a legacy and one that adds value to our communities.

I am not a designer or an architect – I am chartered surveyor. Throughout my career I have had to ensure that investment in the built environment delivers some form of return and that it always adds value. Adding value may be monetary or economic growth, however it can also be social benefit. At a time when there is ongoing investment in our schools, hospitals and other public buildings it will be important to show how good design and architecture is essential to realising these benefits.

Widening our Network

My first function as Chair was to speak at the opening of the Happenstance exhibition in Edinburgh at the start of this month. The Happenstance project is a fantastic example of a small investment making a huge impact – congratulations to all involved.  It was also an example of how place can bring people together. It shows how creative design can add value to communities and in this case, it has left a legacy for the local population in the area of Venice where it was presented.

Over the next few months I want to meet as many colleagues, supporters and champions as possible as well as those who are yet to appreciate the role of A&DS. I want to understand how we contribute to the Scottish economy and the built environment. I want to see how the support Jim and the team delivers can move the organisation forward as it champions great design and place making across Scotland.


Ann Allen,
Chair, Architecture and Design Scotland

PS – I’ve just joined Twitter! Please follow me on @ChairArcDesSco


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