O’DonnelBrown Architects with White Arkitecter and ZM Architecture beats shortlist including Caruso St John to win £15m Crichton Project

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The Crichton Project, in Dumfries and Galloway

A team led by O’DonnelBrown Architects with White Arkitecter and ZM Architecture has been named as the winner of a competition to design a cultural centre in Scotland.

The trio beat a five-strong shortlist including Hoskins Architects and Caruso St John with Loader Monteith Architects to win the design job for the Crichton Project, a £15m scheme focused on mental health and wellbeing.

A total of 70 teams bid for the competition, which was organised by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland on behalf of The Crichton Trust, a charity which oversees the management of The Crichton, a 19th century former hospital campus in Dumfries and Galloway.

The winning team’s concept will repurpose and enhance a former hospital laundry building, which will contain archive facilities along with a new visual arts and exhibition area and study space.

Nature is at the heart of the design, with the scheme to feature the use of natural materials and a series of public gardens and courtyards.

The Crichton was founded in 1838 as a mental asylum before becoming a royal institution two years later. It became well known during the 20th century for psychiatric research by German Jewish emigres. 

The campus includes the Crichton Memorial Church, a category A-listed building, a conference centre and a hotel. The last mental health ward was closed in 2013 and the site is now used mostly as a remote teaching campus.

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The £15m scheme will contain archive, exhibition and study space