2021 Annual Review: a reflection of our work

Our 2021 Annual Review highlights areas of work and shares some of your feedback. Our staff also reflect on their highlights of the year.

A girl in a yellow shirt looks at white postcards hanging from the ceiling in a dark room. The phrase "I wish" is written in large white letters on the wall behind her.

In 2021, we set out our plans for the coming decade. We aim to provide leadership on the spatial aspects of the Place Principle to stimulate a step-change in how Scotland’s places are planned, designed, delivered, and sustained.

We want to inspire those around us to get involved in their places: in towns, cities, and communities across Scotland.

The pandemic continued to impact our places through 2021. Helping places recover from COVID-19 is now part of our work, sitting alongside the challenges of the climate emergency. In our annual review for 2021 we highlight areas of work, share some of your feedback, and our staff reflect on their highlights of 2021.

Resource: 2021 Annual Review

Download our annual review to read highlights of our work in 2021, including what we did for the International Architecture Exhibition and how we helped Scotland’s learning estate.

Applying the strategy to our work in 2021

A core part of our strategy is to help overcome these challenges by creating the conditions for the Place Principle to become the ‘new normal’ when planning future investment in our public services and assets.

We know design can help realise our country’s ambitions to create better places. Throughout 2021, our team worked with key decision-makers and local people to address the unique needs of their places.

We have summarised our work in the 2021 Annual Review spanning projects across Scotland. Click on the link above to download our report to learn more about our work in 2021.

“As we start this journey, the early signs are encouraging. Through working in places to apply the Place Principle, we are supporting change while building evidence of its benefits.” – Ann Allen, Chair, Architecture and Design Scotland

Working together to create thriving places

A more collaborative approach to services, land and buildings, across all sectors within a place, enables better outcomes for everyone. It increases opportunities for people and communities to shape their own lives. Working together in this way can transform our places and the lives of the people in them. In the first chapter of our annual review, we look at projects where collaboration is helping create thriving places.

Two people are kneeling beside a two-foot-high bug house beside a wooden fence and forested area.
In 2021 we started working with Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, to deliver its Outdoor Learning Hub. Image credit: Queen Margaret University

Championing good design and collaboration

Places should reflect the needs, interests, and ambitions of those who shape and live in them. Without good design, we would not be able to fully experience places that could provide better opportunities for our future. In the second chapter of the annual review, we showcase some of the projects that promoted good design and the benefits it can provide to our people. These projects range from our student awards to a major exhibition at the V&A Dundee.

 Teachers discussing a model floorplan of their school during a Tests of Change workshop.
As part of our learning estate work, we encourage participation to identify learning needs and aspirations. Image credit: Architecture and Design Scotland
Four children are around a table building a model wind turbine in front of a fan.

Acting on the climate emergency

The climate emergency is our greatest challenge and touches almost every aspect of our lives. Places created or adapted to tackle climate change are also better places for people. While climate is an important consideration in all our work, in the third chapter of our annual review you can read about some of our work specifically focussed on climate.

Image credit: Creative Carbon Scotland

What you said, and what is next?

Working directly with people we create examples of what working together in a place means. It allows us to gather evidence of the benefits of collaboration. This is an important part of our work. In the fourth section, we look at a snapshot of our work in 2021 and gather feedback from people we have worked with.

Our vision is for a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable, and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future. All the work we have achieved collectively across Scotland in 2021 would not have been possible without you, our partners, stakeholders, local authorities, community groups, local people, and staff. We look forward to continuing to work together.

“It has been invaluable having the support of A&DS and KAG partners. They have challenged us to think differently, to broaden our understanding of place. They have helped to bring others around the table. And they have provided a high level of added value to the workshops.” – Fife KAG workshop participant

Resource: 2021 Annual Review (print and mobile-friendly version)

Download a print and mobile-friendly version of our annual review.

Header image credit: Neil Hanna Photography

Our plans for the coming decade

Our corporate strategy sets out how we will make the Place Principle an everyday reality in the way Scotland’s places are created, adapted and sustained. 

Read strategy