Hoskins Architects’ extension and upgrade of 19th-century landmark wins 2021 Doolan Award

Hoskins Architects has won Scotland’s biggest architectural prize for its decade-long extension and upgrade of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The project at the 19th-century category A-listed building created new exhibition and education spaces and introduced a dramatic copper-clad roof among a series of striking contemporary interventions.

Doolan Award judges said that as part of the process the building’s services and environmental performance had been thoroughly upgraded and the gallery’s art handling, storage and back-of-house facilities revitalised.

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland president Christina Gaiger said the gallery was an “outstanding building” that had been upgraded in a way that preserved its special character and grandeur.

“Hoskins Architects have brought a piece of Scottish heritage into the 21st century with humility, skill and sensitivity,” she said.

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“In the face of the climate emergency, how we upgrade, respect and adapt our existing building stock is absolutely crucial.

“In Aberdeen Art Gallery we have an outstanding example of how a public building, thanks to the talent of Hoskins Architects and far-sighted clients Aberdeen City Council, exemplifies the smart re-use of an existing building, as part of a collective regenerative response to climate change.”

The gallery beat shortlist rivals the Bayes Centre by Bennetts Associates; the Egg Shed by Oliver Chapman Architects; the Hill House Box by Carmody Groarke, which protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Helensborough masterpiece; and Sport Scotland National Sports Training Centre at Inverclyde by Reiach and Hall Architects.

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Hoskins Architects director Chris Coleman-Smith said the practice was “thrilled” to have won.

”We’re privileged to have a talented team and exceptional client in Aberdeen City Council,” he said.

“This special award is testament to the effort and commitment from the many people involved in the design and delivery of this fantastic project throughout the years.”

In addition to the £10,000 prize, the Doolan Award winner receives the RIAS Gold Medal.