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Winners revealed at Dundee Civic Trust’s 50th Anniversary Awards

A pioneering women's custody centre in the Hilltown takes the top accolade.

The Bella Centre won the Dundee Civic Trust Award. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.
The Bella Centre won the Dundee Civic Trust Award. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.

A custody centre for women was the top winner at Dundee Civic Trust’s 50th anniversary awards.

The Bella Centre in the Hilltown houses up to 16 women and is a UK first in the way it deals with female offenders.

It impressed the judges with its sensitive, humane and inspiring environment.

Dundee Civic Trust held its first annual awards since 2019, the last year before Covid hit. The Trust was founded in 1973 and this year’s awards are also a celebration of its 50th anniversary.

As part of the anniversary the Trust teamed up with Dundee Historic Environment Trust to give out awards to projects that restored and preserved the city’s historic buildings.

Special 50th Anniversary Awards were also given to buildings that missed out during years when awards were not held, and to a pair of organisations that have made a consistent contribution to Dundee’s built environment.

The winners at the 50th Anniversary Dundee Civic Trust Awards are:

Dundee Civic Trust Award

Winner: Bella Centre, 81 Ann Street
Client/Developer: Scottish Prison Service
Architect: Oberlanders
Contractor: Ogilvie Construction
The Bella Centre in Dundee’s Hilltown. Image: Kim Cessford.

This highly innovative and courageous project encourages the rehabilitation of up to sixteen women offenders within three shared houses and generous community facilities, which flow through to an outdoor socialising space surrounded by peaceful greenery.

There is a thoughtful layout of the housing around a communal courtyard which generates an excellent sense of enclosure.

Inside the Bella Centre. Image: DCT Media.
Judges’ Comments:

The judges liked the details of the generous porch roofs to the housing, the use of soft timber cladding and good external landscaping. The users were consulted, and this has resulted in a very sensitive, humane and inspiring environment for them. The judges were particularly impressed with the high quality of the housing design.

Discovery Dome Gallery, RRS Discovery, Waterfront
Client/Developer: Dundee Heritage Trust
Architect: AIM
Contractor: Alexander Oastler
Dundee Discovery Dome offers a stunning 360 degree view of the city from a century ago. Image: DCT Media.

The newly built Discovery Gallery is a modern lookout-tower where the visitor can experience a 360 degree view of Dundee, the Tay estuary and neighbouring Fife.

The Gallery provides an immersive experience which enables visitors to compare and contrast Dundee’s inner-city and harbour in 1901, when Discovery was launched, with a modern day perspective.

The architects/designers and builders have created a very impressive new entrance, reception area, a lift and a spiral staircase.

Judges’ comments:

The judges were struck by the sheer complexity of the structural, engineering and audio-visual properties which make this such a worthwhile addition to the overall Discovery Experience.

The design and construction team encountered many challenges and are to be congratulated for their fortitude in successfully overcoming these.

Ellengowan Housing Development, Arbroath Road
Client/Developer: Hillcrest Housing /Campion Homes
Architect: The Collective
The new flats at Ellengowan in Dundee. Image: DCT Media.

The architects and developer consulted with residents of the ‘Old Ellengowan’ and have managed to produce a well-crafted mix of 130 energy- efficient, adaptable and accessible properties.

The mix of houses, cottage flats and flats all tie in well with their surroundings. The attractive brick finish is likely to endure for many years with low maintenance and the development even includes a corner shop.

Judges’ comments:

The new Ellengowan development is a worthy replacement for the old pre-war development which was irreparable and demolished.

Dundee Civic Trust/Dundee Historic Environment Trust Award

The Flour Mill, 34 Commercial Street
Client: Inshmore Limited
Adviser: Gauldie Wright & Partners
The Flour Mill has been transformed into a business hub. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.

The 1850s Flour Mill has been transformed into a business centre providing a range of serviced office spaces, meeting accommodation with hot-desks and high-quality workspaces.

The building itself is accessed off Exchange Street and you can’t see it from there, but its frontage is revealed as the inside-out wall of a demolished adjacent warehouse. Inshmore Limited took over the much needed regeneration project in 2017 to bring the whole building back into active use.

The Flour Mill’s striking interior. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.
Judges’ comments:

The judges delighted in the developer’s creativity and obvious enjoyment of the building’s heritage. Lost spaces and features are revealed, repaired and reused. The building resonates with energy and an excellent entrance has been created. It is still a bit worn, but that only adds to its charm.

Harecraig House, 26 Dundee Road, Broughty Ferry
Client: Rhoda Neville
Adviser: Andrew McMaster
Haircraig House has been beautifully restored. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.

Harecraig was built in around 1835 as the factor’s house for Douglas & Angus Estates and sits on the cliffs on the road into Broughty Ferry

Over the years it had fallen into disrepair, and after it was purchased by its current owner roofing, window repair, rendering and internal works were commissioned to bring the property up to modern living standards. The conservation work was supported by a grant from Dundee Historic Environment Trust.

Judges’ comments:

Attention to detail in the specification and craftsmanship is exemplary. The client’s additional commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency combines to make what has been produced to date an impressive achievement.

Special mention:
Blair’s Court, 86 Nethergate, Dundee
Client: Stuart Niven
Blair’s Court is one of Dundee’s most historic buildings. Image: Dundee Civic Trust.

This complex includes, with Gardyne’s Land, the only pre-1700 secular buildings to survive from the historic burgh.

Some essential repairs were carried out by owners the St David’s Masonic Lodge, but they had been struggling to maintain it.

The new owner instigated a rescue package during the pandemic, and ex-military veterans and Lodge volunteers teamed up to re-roof and repair the building. It will provide an excellent venue for veterans and Lodge members.

Judges’ comments:

It is heartening to see the amount of work and improvements which has been undertaken so far.. Credit is due to the new owner and volunteers for undertaking this project and saving a historic building of significance.

Special mention:
John Frullani Architect’s Office, 140 Perth Road
Owner: John Frullani
Jon Frullani’s practice at 140 Perth Road. Image: DCT Media.

This prominent B-listed Regency villa has a history that includes alterations and damaging fires. It has now been lovingly renovated by its new owner, with imaginative flair shown in the contrast of old and new materials and furnishings.

Judges’ comments:

The judges commended the ambitious reinstatement of the stairwell opening, its restored balustrading, the stone and tile entrance floorings, cornices, shutters and other replacement joiner work throughout the building.

They also noted that the project had encouraged a younger generation of architects to develop skills in the conservation of historic buildings.

50th Anniversary Awards for outstanding buildings not previously considered

Dundee Contemporary Arts. Image: Steve MacDougall.

Dundee Contemporary Arts was one of three winners in this category. The striking modern art centre, cinema, cafe, restaurant and bar opened its doors in 1999.

Upper Dens Mill. Image Dundee Civic Trust.

Upper Dens Mill was also highlighted by the judges as worthy of an award. The four storey mill building dates from 1850 and is now an attractive apartment block.

The Overgate Centre. Image: DCT Media.

The Overgate Centre was another Dundee building that was given a 50th anniversary award. The centre was built in the late 1990s and replaced an ugly and unloved concrete shopping centre from the 1960s.

50th Anniversary Awards for a consistent contribution to Dundee’s built environment

Dundee City Council
mcmanus dundee disabled toilet
The McManus Galleries in Dundee.

Dundee City Council was given an award for its work on a range of projects including McManus Galleries, Morgan Academy, Riverside flood defences, Baxter Park Pavilion, and improvements to the City Centre.

Nicoll Russell Studios.
Water’s Edge at City Quay. Image: DCT Media.

The renowned Broughty Ferry architects’ practice was given the award for its work on projects including Dundee Rep Theatre, Water’s Edge, Space Dance Studios, Sleeperz Hotel and Railway station, and Hillcrest Housing Association headquarters.