The best of Courier Country architecture

The Dundee Institute of Architects annual awards took place in the Invercarse Hotel last night.

Three judges – DIA President and Fife Council head of architecture Diarmid McLachlan, Dundee University’s head of architecture Helen O’Connor and The Courier’s property writer Jack McKeown – whittled 96 entries down to a shortlist of 20 projects in Tayside and Fife vying for honours in 11 categories.

1. Supreme Award. Humpty House, Lintrathen, near Kirriemuir. Ben Scrimgeour Building Workshop.

Sitting in a clearing in the woods overlooking Loch of Lintrathen, Humpty House is blessed with a glorious setting. Designed by its owners, Ben Scrimgeour and his wife Rosemary, the home also houses their architectural practice.

Essentially two cottages stitched together, the house echoes local farm buildings and fits superbly into its setting.

It also shows how to combine work and home life under one roof. Little wonder it claimed both the Best New House title and the overall Supreme Award.


2. Best Interior Design. Woodend Cottage, Fairmont Road, Perth. Woodside Parker Kirk.

This ambitious extension connected several standalone buildings into one coherent house where spaces flow naturally into each other.

The judges were impressed by its clever solution to a difficult design problem and the way old and new blend seamlessly together.


3. Best Commercial/Non Domestic. R&A Equipment Test Centre, Kingsbarns. Wellwood Leslie Architects.

Soundproofed rooms where golf balls are fired at speeds of up to 250mph, technology to assess equipment sent from all over the world, and the ability to keep commercially sensitive projects secret from prying eyes were part of a very demanding brief for this project.

That this was all fitted into a handsome building that incorporates the same stone used in the original R&A Clubhouse built in 1854 is a testimony to its exceptional design.


4. Best Group Housing. Rose Cottage, Inchture. Jon Frullani.

This cluster of two houses was built in the garden of a traditional cottage and provides homes for two brothers and their families.

Built to an exacting standard on a modest budget, their combination of modern lifestyle with a traditional feel impressed the judges.


5. Best Small Project – Domestic. Usan Tower, Montrose. GAAP.

This derelict C-listed stone tower was rescued with a bold conversion and extension that takes full advantage of an absolutely spectacular coastal setting.

On top of enjoying one of Scotland’s finest sea views the project is filled with nice design touches, such as cleverly angled windows and an open upper room which allows a view right through the house.


6. Best Small Project – Non Domestic. Tay Street Mews, Dundee. Andrew Black Design.

Even many locals weren’t aware of the existence of these mews properties, tucked down a lane off Dundee’s Nethergate.

Kept wind and watertight by Dundee City Council but otherwise derelict, they’ve been stunningly converted and now house Andrew Black Design’s architectural practice and the design studio Open Change.


7. Best Rehabilitation/Regeneration. Downalong, Forneth, Dunkeld. CASA Architects.

Once a row of individual cottages that had fallen into disrepair, these houses have been combined into one spectacular home complete with a “kicked out” extension at the back to get as much light as possible from the north facing side.

As well as being a superb project in its own right Downalong offers a template on how to rescue countless other unloved rows of rundown rural cottages across Scotland.


8. On the Drawing Board. Town Houses, Argyle Street, St Andrews. Muir, Walker & Pride Architects.

A development of four townhouses on an historic St Andrews street, these perform the tricky balancing act of producing modern architecture that enhances traditional surroundings.

9. Best Use of Timber. The Mill, Grange, Errol. Atelier-M.

A traditional exposed green oak framed extension showcases outstanding craftsmanship and brings the outside into the home, transforming the owners’ living experience.

10. Best Use of Stone. Cassochie House, North Cassochie, Methven. Muir Walker Pride.


Set in a 160 acre estate with vast landscaped grounds including a manmade lake and island, this hugely ambitious house carries easily the largest budget of any domestic project in the awards. It was the exceptional stone cladding and beautifully detailed stone chimneys that turned our judges’ heads, however.

11. Ambassador Award. Links Cottage, Scaranish, Tiree. Nicoll Russell Studios.

Given to local architects carrying out projects outwith the area, this year’s Ambassador’s Award goes to a holiday cottage that nicely echoes traditional island architecture.