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Scott Sutherland School yearbook 2009

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This publication has been generously sponsored by the Global Energy Group Global Energy Group was formed in 2005, with main offices in Aberdeen and Inverness. It is a contracting and service-based company supporting the international energy industry and other industrial sectors through turnkey project solutions and stand-alone services. Encompassing more than 10 companies, the group’s principal activities are: engineering, fabrication, rig repair and inspection, resource management, supply chain solutions and pipeline services. Our business units are run by highly qualified and experienced people who appreciate and understand the needs of our clients. We are known for our innovative approach to providing quality solutions in all areas of our work and the success of our business is based on the high quality of people we have working for us.

Editors Penny Lewis, Neil Lamb and Claire Bonner Designers Craig Shand and Andrew Smith Printers J. Thompson Colour Printers, Glasgow Copyright - 2009 Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form with the permission of the publisher. ÂŁ4.00 ISBN

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Introduction Penny Lewis

ever. Mud retains heat but most metals turn cold quickly. All these things can be taught, but how the stone looks in the sunshine and the rain, how it weather over time, what it feels like to touch for an old woman or a small child are all judgments. To design involves making judgments about what is critical and what is peripheral, learning to organise a programme, to get inside a space and think carefully about its qualities, to understand and integrate a consistent approach to construction, to think about this creation in its context. It’s a rational, intuitive and iterative process, which demands flexibility in thinking at an abstract and concrete level and a great deal of hard work. This modest publication is a tribute to all those who struggled to design and succeeded in producing architectural ideas that may never be built but are, nevertheless, both useful and often beautiful.

craig shand

This yearbook is a collection of student work from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment. It’s a snapshot of the School’s activities from first year drawing projects to post-graduate research. It is the school’s first yearbook for some time and as such is something of an experiment. Next year we hope to develop a format that engages a wider number of students. The process of learning to design and to build is not a straight forward transfer of knowledge – it demands a great deal of discipline and hard work from individual students. Building is a practical task, it appears to operate according to objective rules. Sometimes we predict building performance by calculation, while at other times rules have been refined over time and through experience. Loads and moments create predictable stresses and strains, some construction details fail, while others last for


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The Big Crit Claire Bonner

In May, the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment hosted its first annual ‘Big Crit’ day where five outstanding architects were invited to critique a range of students work. The day showcased work from all year groups and provided the chance for students to mix with high profile talented architects, as well as gain valuable experience in presenting their work. Constructive criticism is something that all designers have to deal with, both in education and in practice. Exposing students to constructive criticism through the critique process provides them with the confidence with which to handle these situations in the future, as well as providing a chance to ‘sell’ their architectural wonders. When selecting the panel of critics, it was important to ensure there was a balance. The panel therefore included Neil Gillespie (Reiach & Hall Architects) with his unique depth of architectural reasoning and understanding; Alan Pert (NORD Architecture) who sought architectural innovation; sustainability conscious Rab Bennett (Bennetts Associates); Graham Mitchell (Graham Mitchell Architects) who believes in contextual contemporary architecture; and the renowned Isi Metzstein of the former Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. Professor Isi Metzstein is known to be a harsh critic – completing a crit

well in front of such a great mind is a great achievement, and one which many of his students judged their performance on. He certainly didn’t disappoint… Openly admiring first year’s aspiration and enthusiasm, Isi also felt that “this particular sailor has gone to sea.” As the crits progressed chronologically through the years however, Isi, along with Neil, was digging deep for architectural meaning suggesting to some “you are just snorkling, when you should be deep sea diving.” It is fair to say that Isi is not particularly fond of hotels with his well known ‘Holiday Binn’ analogy, yet two of our honours year students put up a great fight presenting hotel schemes based in Skye and Pennan. Placing a hotel in such rural locations poses many challenges with its relationship to site in terms of the topography, views and orientation. Isi challenged the very meaning of what a hotel was and if this relationship to site was actually enough. “You seem to have distorted the program too much in the direction of views through bedroom windows. You don’t site in the bedrooms looking at the view – the bedroom, it’s for sleeping and other things, not sitting looking out the bloody window – the drama should be elsewhere in this building. The relationship to the site – is just based on a view to


Neil Gillespie, Isi Metzstein, Rab Bennett, Graham Mitchell and Alan Pert


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contemporary architecture within a world heritage site – “So you have unearthed these social problems in the city of Edinburgh; scratched the subject of some of what’s missing – but it’s quite depressing – such problems…A manifesto – great – but that’s maybe not program enough…Is that what makes great places? Filling these gaps, sorting these problems? New Edinburgh, what could that be? Edinburgh is more or less complete apart from some holes in the ground…but it’s done. Think of the New Town and what allowed that to happen…This manifesto could be so much wider…a new program. Don’t look at what is there and what’s missing and fill the gaps – let’s think next time about that programme.” The day provoked many interesting debates on the issues of sustainability that we currently face in the 21st century, as well as the reasoning and methods for iconic architecture and regeneration, resulting with the panel reflecting on their concerns about place, heritage and identity. Quotes supplied by Andy McAvoy


sea – is that engaging enough?” Upon reaching the final year students, more issues were raised on form, and their drivers, if any. Metzstein is not enthusiastic about complex geometries and challenged the students for their reasoning behind doing so… “These angles – tell me what’s right about them? I don’t want you to defend why they are not wrong…but what’s right about them. You say flexibility – what’s driving the flexibility? All my life, and I’ve done a few buildings, and I’ve found good reason in rectilinear forms – so tell me why you think these shapes are valuable in 2009. Maybe I’ve been missing something all my life? You have given in to this geometry, but is it doing the right things for your building… for your programme? That the spaces either side of a partition are right angles – that’s useful…the spaces are usable…but with this geometry – on one side you have something positive…acute…on the other something obtuse – where rats go to die…” As well as debates on the wider issues of the appropriate form of a building, the 6th year Edinburgh unit generated debate on the regeneration of our cities. As part of their research, the unit focused on the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh’s city centre and produced a manifesto that would challenge the current views of designing


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Essay Rob Knox, Stage 4 Construction and Design Management

The economic downturn and North East construction industry Output in some parts of the construction sector in the United Kingdom has decreased by almost 50% in the past year (Bill, 2008). The construction industry has without doubt been one of the worst sectors affected by the economic downturn. Ten times more people have lost their job in the construction industry than that of car manufacturing (Barden, 2009). The construction industry lost £1.4 billion of construction work in the final quarter of 2008 (Barden, 2009). This figure compared with the previous quarter represents a 7% fall, which is the largest fall in output since 1980. Make no mistake about it – these are extremely hard times for the UK construction industry. In addition to these overcast figures, private housing output fell by 13% compared to the third quarter of 2008 - the largest fall since the first quarter of 1991. The output in the commercial sector fell by 11% during the final quarter of 2008. What is more worrying is that the United Kingdom only entered a recession officially in January. These statistics relate to the entire United Kingdom, not just the North East of Scotland. Some have described the North East of Scotland as the land that the “credit crunch forgot” (Dougall, 2008). This is completely untrue. At the end of 2008, 60000 UK construction workers had lost their jobs since the start of the recession (Politics, 2009b) while 12000 people were placed on short time working. North East construction firms such as Stewart Milne Construction, Banchory Contractors, Chap Construction and Scotia Homes have all made redundancies, as have Glasgow–based FM Developments. Judging by the signs seen in the north east, firms have again been unprepared for this recession. In Aberdeen, 2546 individuals are now looking for a job, an increase of 855 in the last 12 months. In Aberdeenshire, the outlook is also dismal with 1925 individuals now looking for work – an increase of 770 in the last 12 months (Brooks, 2009).

The theory seems to be that Aberdeen is sheltered somewhat from the recession may stem from the mass presence of oil firms in the area. As regards stock levels, then yes, things may start to pick up more quickly in the north east of Scotland. The underlining point here however is that if the banks do not start to lend then there will be no people able to take up this stock. It will also be more difficult for construction firms to get access to finance. Things are dire for the construction firms in the north east – just as they are for construction firms throughout the United Kingdom. Oil companies in the city employ a large amount of people whom in turn we see a demand for accommodation. In addition they are vital in commercial building projects. The construction industry and indeed those involved in the construction sector both internally and externally are therefore heavily reliant upon this. The North East is certainly not recession proof. Reports that the region can avoid similar problems to England are “well wide of the mark” (Crichton, 2008). Some have argued that construction firms in the north east were not being as adversely affected as the rest of Scotland while others suggested that because stock levels in the North East were lower than the rest of Scotland house building may pick up more quickly. For a short while the region did seem to have lagged behind the rest of Scotland as regards the economic downturn. The peak of new housing starts in the North East took longer to reach its summit than the rest of Scotland, peaking at 653 starts in the first quarter of 2008. The rate of decline in the north east has been rapid. The figures for Scotland showed that new housing starts peaked in Scotland in October 2007 (Aberdeen City & Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority, 2009a). In Spring of that year there were 2900 new housing starts a month. This fell to 400 new housing starts in August of 2008. The house building aspect of the construction industry in Scotland is in a very rapid rate of decline. In quarter three of 2008, there were only


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185 new housing starts. The region has experienced the same decline as the rest of Scotland, but to a slightly lesser extent with new starts declining at a rate of 72% compared with Scotland’s average of 86%. However, the North East’s decline occurred over a period of 6 months whereas Scotland’s as a whole was over an entire year. (Aberdeen City & Shire, Strategic Development Planning Authority, 2009b). In addition to the fall in construction of new homes, the value of the property market is also under pressure. The amount of houses sold in October 2008 was half that sold in October 2007, with sales dropping below 1000 for the final quarter of 2008 to a dismal 894. This represented the biggest drop in house sales for 15 years. This figure increased to 925 in the first quarter of 2009 (ASPC, 2009). In quarter 4 of 2006 there were just 500 houses for sale on the Aberdeen Solicitors

Property Centre website (Crichton, 2009) (F2.4).There were 500 more homes for sale in Quarter one of 2009, compared with Quarter one of 2008, this could be attributed to homeowners heading toward negative equity. House prices in the region in quarter three of 2008 were down 8% from the previous quarter (ASPC, 2008a). Between the final quarter of 2008 and the end of the first quarter of 2009 house prices have dropped to an average of £181,587 from the previously mentioned £192,370 (ASPC, 2009). This is a drop of 5.6% which indicates the rate of decline increased fairly significantly in this period. In the last recession house prices dropped approximately 18% over a 4 year period, but this was for the UK as a whole (GLA, 2009b). This rate of decline is very concerning, confirming that in terms of employment and output, the North East’s construction industry is

F2.2: Rate of decline of housing starts in North East has been rapid. This has put the area on par with rest of Scotland as regards decline in new housing starts (Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority, 2009a)

F2.6: Any positivism to be gained from the slowed decline of property prices between Q3 08 and Q4 08 was dispelled by the large drop in Q1 09 Source (ASPC, 2009) (Illustration by researcher).


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suffering from economic downturn. On a more optimistic note, after the last recession house prices increased by 130% over 6 years (GLA, 2009b), a factor which should again encourage investors into the market. This will only happen when prices offer value and when the banks increase lending. As regards an improvement in house sales triggering house building and indeed investment increasing, well the banks again play a vital role here. Although first time buyers usually buy relatively small or inexpensive houses, they play a pivotal role in the market, kick-starting the house buying chain. It is extremely difficult for them to get access to finance at the moment due to the economic downturn and the housing market is stagnating (GLA, 2009b). Firms such as the Stewart Milne Group have started incentives such as the first-time buyer paying only 75% for their respective properties to begin with. Despite only paying 75% they own 100% of the property from the date of purchase. The remainder of the payment is deferred for up to 10 years interest free, or until the house is sold (Stewart Milne Homes, 2008). The irony of this is that low house prices is good news for first time buyers, but they are having great difficulty obtaining finance. It is not just house building that the construction industry is concerned with. Commercial building projects and the construction of schools are also vitally important to the North East. Pihl Construction, a Danish Contractor responsible for the building of six schools in Aberdeen, ran into financial difficulty when the PFI scheme’s Icelandic funders, Landsbanki, fell victim to the credit crunch (Millet, 2009). This saw three of the seven schools being constructed by the firm being set aside. Another three schools also suffered as there start dates were pushed back. Pihl says they are expecting to commence construction on the mothballed schemes in June. This again highlights the difficulties and indeed factors affecting output in the region and makes projects

such as the Trump master plan for the Menie Estate and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route are more important than ever. Today, every human being is affected in some way by this global economic crisis. The North East of Scotland is not recession proof. Those leaving school looking for apprenticeships in the construction industry will undoubtedly struggle to do so, graduate positions are also limited during the current climate. In general, this should mean that there are more people applying to Universities as more people look to gain qualifications. The United Kingdom is experiencing its first economic downturn since the era of mass higher education came to the fore (Rae, 2008a). Despite the downturn however, the United Kingdom as a whole has seen a rise in applications of 8% up to 42,000 – the highest amount in eight years (Woolcock, 2009). It is interesting to see the affect the recession has had on applications for construction related courses at The Robert Gordon University. The uncertainty surrounding the construction industry is likely to affect enrolment on construction related courses leading to a skills shortage in the future. It is vitally important that school leavers or anybody interested in enrolling on a construction related course are given facts on the recession – it will not last forever. This is an extract from a larger report on the subject by Rob Knox.


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stage one Stage One students are introduced to architectural concepts and are encouraged to develop an appreciation of space and structure through practical building and design projects. In Semester One, they undertake a variety of projects, including design and construction of shanty town shelter built from found objects and the design of an exhibition space to house the work of a chosen sculptor. This project is designed to look at issues of materiality, entry and lighting. The end of terrace project is the students’ first exploration of a multi-cell building. Working at a scale of 1:100 they are asked to produce a house at the end of an existing terrace on a sloping rural site.





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David Fleck Stage 1 End of Terrace The proposed house relates to and contrasts with the existing terrace, getting smaller in scale towards its end. Light is brought into the building through a series linear windows allowing the residents to follow the changing position of the sun.


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Stefana Iaschevici Stage 1 End of Terrace Working closely with the topography of the site, this proposal creates different external courts and a route through the building linking the house to the burn at the bottom of the site.

first floor plan

ground floor plan

site plan


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Hayley Budge Stage 1 End of Terrace

Matthew Bailey Stage 1 Sculpture Gallery

Emily Fraser Stage 1 End of Terrace

conceptual sketches

site plan and perspective

light study


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Stuart Young Stage 1 Sculpture Gallery

Lewis Thompson Stage 1 Study

Kirsty Cheyne Stage 1 Sculpture Gallery

plan and perspective


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David Fleck Stage 1 3D Model

Stanislava Delieva Stage 1 3D Model

Proun: proportion and composition was inspired by the work of Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky from the early nineteen twenties. The students were asked to interpret one of El Lissistzky’s Proun works, a two dimensional painting of a three dimensional form, and translate it into a three dimensional composition and then a model.

Students were asked to undertake preparation work for a studio project to design a study. This student took inspiration from the site and traditional forms in Footdee. The purpose of the exercise was to explore more than one design solutions through conceptual sketches and analysis.





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stage two


Stage Two looks at the organisation of, and relationships between, spaces, the basic principles of building and marks the beginning of an exploration of context. Two shorter projects look at structural forms and conceptual thinking as generators of architecture. An urban infill project explores designing in a historic town, while the nursery project engages with the relationship between inside and outside space and the between building and landscape. The nursery allows the students to look in more detail at how spatial qualities and functions are developed in relation to a particular user (in this case a child) and activity (such as learning or play).


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Ian Karling Stage 2 Nursery In this project the student tried to create a design that would relate to the site and the wider location. He felt it important to create a rich environment that would maximise learning potential for the children.

ground floor plan

site plan

north-south section


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Graeme Kyle Stage 2 Nursery Based on the desire to provide a child with a place of adventure, this nursery has been encased in a timber shell with leaf shape holes punched out of it, creating an exciting play area incorporating hiding places and climbing frames and encouraging the child to explore.




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Hugh Parsons Stage 2 Nursery

Rory O’Brien Stage 2 Nursery

This nursery, placed on the edge of Banchory, is designed to maximise the child’s connection with the outdoors. Its curved form encompasses a central circulation area which is light, naturally ventilated and unheated. Each activity room is unique, carefully planned but flexible.

A successful nursery should be a simple structure that children can learn from. A nursery should be a sanctuary so that once a child is in the nursery it should feel like a different world to their home. Parents should also feel safe in the knowledge that their child is in a protected environment. Outside spaces should have two functions; firstly, as a place of learning and teaching in an open environment. Secondly, as a place where children can explore, expend energy and just be kids.

conceptual sketch

site plan



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Stage 2 Landscape Project



This was a conceptual project. Students were invited to respond in any way they thought appropriate to a stretch of coastline in Torry, Aberdeen.


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Steven Lockhart Stage 2 Landscape Project Aberdeen is famous worldwide for being oil capital of the UK, but when you are actually in Aberdeen there is not much oil flowing about the place. Aberdeen itself does not contain any oil fields at all, but is instead a maintenance hub for the oil rigs in the North Sea. Since the first commercial extraction of oil in the North Sea in 1975, the oil and gas industry has had major impacts on the community of Aberdeen,

some positive and some not so. The aim of this project is to specifically present a piece of art to allow visitors of the coastal trail to see clearly the vibrancy of the oil industry and also a memorial site to those to who died in the Piper Alpha Disaster, which happened on 6 July 1988. The student opted for the flare stacks due to their visual beauty, whilst at the same time


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its intimidating presence on the coast. These flare stacks were chosen to be viewed on the Torry coastline as this area has a history of loss relating back to it’s use as a defence point during WWII. The Piper Alpha Disaster took 167 lives when a North Sea oil platform exploded due to a failed pump. The student placed six stacks off the coast of Torry as a remembrance to those men.


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Stage 2 Archive Project As part of their theory studies, students are asked to create a personal archive, a repository of information and a design tool, covering the period from Neo-classicism to the present day. The origins of the project lay in the idea of ‘cultures of collecting’ - from the cabinet of curiosities to the modern museum.


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stage three This stage of study focuses on detail and technology. The students work on two design projects which address the architectural questions thrown up when designing at very different scales. In the first semester, a violin workshop in St Andrews, allows students to explore questions of materials, craft and the quality of intimate internal spaces. In Semester Two, the students look at public urban issues with proposals for a new railway station in Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens. The brief is relatively open, students are asked to think strategically about their proposals for the city and to investigate in detail how their building connects with its surroundings in terms of use, scale, form and materials.



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garden level view

Samuel Chapuis-Breyton Stage 3 Station

The project is a ‘structure as a path’, a new link which becomes a landmark introducing new uses to the gardens. The concept is an integrated structure aligned to the formal language of the train which will provide a legible gateway to the city and its gardens following the existing trajectories of the site. Union Street


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Jonathan Mennie Stage 3 Station

tunnel walkway


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Ng Pueh Hoon Stage 3 Station


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union terrace gardens and railway

Emily Ann Gilligan Stage 3 Station The building elements (facades, core and stairs) are all separate allowing for full expression of the functionality of the station. The sense of solidity of the core creates a huge contrast with the delicacy and transparency of the facades. 27

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Jennifer Jarman Stage 3 Station

union terrace elevation


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Calum Paterson Stage 3 Station

section showing denburn road elevation



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Ng Pueh Hoon Stage 3 Workshop


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Jonathan Mennie Stage 3 Workshop

Jennifer Jarman Stage 3 Workshop


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Stuart Matheson Stage 4 Construction Design and Management

Hugh Lawson Stage 1 Architectural Technology

The aim of this investigation is to identify the major problems and issues faced by a developer when building on an inner city brownfield site and how these can be controlled and resolved. brownfield sites provide an opportunity for regeneration and redevelopment in inner cities and they are of special interest to may different groups.

Sports hub project to be built on the south side of the River Dee. Students were to imagine the construction of such a project and present their scheme in 3D.

mind map

images of site

buildability studies

elevations and ground source heat pump sketch


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David Weir-McCall Stage 1 Architectural Technology

Gregor Renton Stage 2 Architectural Technology

buildability studies



corner detail



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Martin McLaughlin Stage 4 Architectural Technology This project for the conversion of an old building into arts studios developed into an exploration of building skins. The design strategy was to increase the thermal performance of the skin to a U-value of 0.15 or better, and to prevent moisture penetrating the building.

street level view

street level view

sectional detail


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Craig Blyth Stage 4, Architectural Technology Portable Retail Unit

sliding rail detail




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stage five


For this stage students undertake a single project over two semesters. The purpose of the project is to explore the idea of distinctiveness in architecture, looking at the issue at both a strategic and a detailed level. The students choose a site in one of four distinctive places: Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Skye or Pennan. They were asked to design a hotel, the brief is left open. Working in groups, they explore the character and needs of these locations in order to develop an individual approach and brief that is appropriate for their site. In the second semester, the students focus on advanced design enquiries to develop an integrated detailed design approach.


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Rick Burney Stage 5 Hotel in Edinburgh This design seeks to emprove the role of observation in the making of meaningful architecture. Consequently, the proposal seeks to abstract and recreate the inherent distinctive qualities visible in the Old Town of Edinburgh in the production of a highly contextual piece of architecture.


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Raju Noor Stage 5 Hotel in Edinburgh This tight linear site runs along the Royal Mile at the Canongate. Rooms are contained within a single monolithic block. Narrow slot windows provide views out to the south and Salisbury Crags and to the north towards Calton Hill. The building is clad in black precast concrete panels.

site plan of canongate

perspective showing salisbury crags


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Alex Green Stage 5 Hotel in Skye Influenced by vernacular architecture in Skye and the views to the Black Cuillin Hills and coastline, the hotel is designed to work with the landscape but capture the stunning vistas. Accommodating climbers and guests seeking relaxation, the internal space encourages the socialising affiliated with hillwalking by grouping the restaurant, bar, library and climbing wall in a single void.

elevation showing black cuillin hills


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Jamie McInnes Stage 5 Hotel in Skye

Tara Jackson Stage 5 Hotel in Skye

This hotel has been organised as a tower, a fort like structure, set against a backdrop of the Cuillins. The building frames views of out to the surrounding landscape. Rooms were arranged to maximise on specific views creating unique places to contemplate.

This hotel is located at Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye at the foot of the Black Cuillins. The Cuillins is an overwhelming landscape that attracts thousands of visitors each year. With no boundaries and completely immersed in nature, man looses sense of time, place and dimension and it becomes a place to recuperate, recollect and reflect. Almost a lifetime could be spent contemplating the views at Glenbrittle.



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Hailey Bell Stage 5 Hotel in Pennan The existing dwellings of Pennan stand still, as a series of frozen characters. Arranged in an orderly, yet disorderly manner, patiently awaiting the arrival of someone or something new. I felt passionately against disrupting this somewhat abandoned movie set. Choosing to leave Pennan in its own peace and beauty, the hotel was therefore located to the west end of the village high up on the cliff edge.


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pennan site plan


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John Barkley Stage 5 Hotel in Pennan Standing at the bottom of the cliff and over looking the sea, the new hotel takes the scale and the proportions of the traditional Pennan houses as a starting point for a very contemporary aesthetic.

Darren Park Stage 5 Hotel in Pennan Located beneath the cliffs within the coastal town of Pennan, this hotel appears to grow out of the cliff faces mimicking the topography of the surrounding landscape. 44

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Colin Jeffrey Stage 5 Hotel in Pennan Sitting on the cliff top, overlooking Pennan, the hotel bedrooms face away from the sea towards the coastal village, while the public spaces look towards the sea. The monolithic block encloses subterranean chambers that are used to service the building. pennan cliff top site plan


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Sarah Frood Stage 5 Hotel in Copenhagen By reclaiming and inhabiting the man-made landscape of Kroyers Plads, the hotel intends to create a community forum at ground floor level that will allow hotel residents to experience the distinct atmosphere of Christianshavn and wider Copenhagen. The ground floor will become an open mall with interior and exterior recreation spaces being the main focus.


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Ultan Foley Stage 5 Hotel in Copenhagen The proposed site is located on a man made island of historic importance within Christianshavn. The local context is a young, hip, chic and bohemian culture. The urban grain is dominated by the local vernacular of steep pitched roofs, long rectilinear buildings and traditional clay materials which provides this part of Copenhagen with its own unique architectural quality. The aim is to reflect the existing qualities of the local context through abstraction of shape, form, massing and material, in order to contiue the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere of Christianshavn. 47

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stage six aberdeen unit Aberdeen is located on the North East coast of Scotland and is known as both the ‘Granite City’ and the oil capital of the UK. As a result of the oil industry, Aberdeen and its surrounding areas expanded rapidly leaving the city centre struggling to cope. In order to bring life back into the city centre, students were asked to focus on key sites which have already been identified for further development in the east end of Union Street, Aberdeen’s main shopping street, and combine these to form part of a larger master planning scheme. The masterplan focuses on revitalisation and connectivity between Union Street and the harbour and aims to build on the concept of highlighting the tourist and cultural quarter of the city. There are several key buildings within the zone which are all connected by their functions. These include Marischal College, the Old Tolbooth Museum, the Citadel, the Martime Museum, Provost Skene’s House, the Lemon Tree Arts Centre and Peacocks Visual Arts Centre. Together, these form a strong and potentially very successful cultural quarter. The masterplan will strengthen the awareness of these through highlighting their existence and drawing on their key locations within the new beach boulevard street. Another element within the masterplan is to view the zone as a journey through the city – along Union Street and towards the beach. To achieve this, a series of changes have been made to strengthen this journey and make it more attractive to visitors.

masterplan of aberdeen


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Colin Robertson Stage 6 Triple Kirks Museum Triple Kirks Museum of Aberdeen, will act as a catalyst for the expansion of Aberdeen’s cultural quarter, bringing families and variety to the city centre. The design based on the concept of a ‘Ghostlike Echo’, it looks back, to the original Archibald Simpson design for inspiration, and forward using contemporary glazing and lighting technology to provide a beacon for the city.


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David Strathdee Stage 6 Peacock’s Arts Centre at Triple Kirks The proposed arts centre at the dilapidated Triple Kirks site in Aberdeen focuses on the amalgamation of the old and the new. The marriage of these two entities can be seen from the macro level of streetscape to the micro level of detailing.

part elevation and section


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Jolie Ho Stage 6 Proposed Arts Centre

Sara Russell Stage 6 Granite City Museum

Reinforcing the theme of a ‘cultural quarter’ within the heart of Aberdeen city centre, this contemporary arts centre aims to fill in the void of the Rosemount Viaduct elevation as well as Aberdeen’s need for something new, fresh and modern.

Proposal for a new museum that will house a celebration of granite on this site. There is currently no space to celebrate the history of granite in the City and this site in the Adelphi, with links to the existing Maritime Museum, is an exciting opportunity to introduce this.

north-south section

shiprow elevation


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Gerard Ellis Stage 6 Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum Proposal for an extension to the existing Art Gallery, a combined art gallery and museum. Aberdeen Art Gallery has not been greatly expanded since the 1920s and its outstanding collection is overflowing with nowhere to go. By providing extra exhibition space, the collection will be allowed to expand further and more contempory acquisitions can be displayed.


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Fei Wang Stage 6 Union Terrace Gardens Proposal for Union Terrace Gardens which raises the garden level by 6m, places a concrete deck to cover the Denburn Road, and accommodates an art gallery and studios in the arches area. The plaza extending from Union Street to the gardens allows people easy access to the site.


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stage six buckie



Harbour and Town In Scotland, over one third of the population lives in settlements of less than 10,000 people, ranging from small accessible towns to remote rural hamlets. Historically, the development of settlements responded to natural landscape, industry and agriculture leading to distinct cultural and architectural identities. Many of these industries have declined and there are further challenges in housing, transport, commerce and employment. The unit continues and builds on the work of last year to look at the challenge of making contemporary Scottish architecture for our small towns. In recognising the significance of small towns, this unit has looked at Buckie, a historic fishing town on the moray coast to explore the issues of conservation, heritage and regeneration. The group enquiry recorded the growth of Buckie and its traditions, industry and economy. Comparative typology studies were made of other North-East fishing towns and conclusions drawn about the common and unique qualities of Buckie. A detailed study was made of the facilities and fabric in the harbour. The existing buildings were appraised in terms of their condition, type, setting, appearance and heritage significance. Interviews were conducted with people in the town to record emotional connections to the harbour and people’s aspirations for the future of the Buckie. From multi-layered research a masterplan of interdependent locally specific themes were developed - industry, education, dwelling, craft, art, cuisine, the sea, coastal landscape and environment.


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Cian O’Riordan Stage 6 Northern Lichts This project relates to the past with an outlook to the future. It strives to alter the public’s approach to and perception of the harbour. In a media society, the application of light and digital media is a form of communication interacting and connecting with the masses. The Ice Tower is a development symbolic of change - a new beginning for the harbour.


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Ewan Ogilvie Stage 6 Shipyard This project acknowledges the need to draw new business into the harbour where there are many abandoned and derelict buildings that can still serve a purpose. The proposal aims to create low-cost artist studios, workshop spaces and accommodation creating a self-sustaining community of creative types.


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Greig Penny Stage 6 Shifting Pedagogies There is a distinct need for the development of knowledge based jobs within Buckie. The proposed Community + Learning Resource Centre seeks to subtly shift the way the community approaches learning by integrating flexible IT spaces, an educational library and bookable classroom/studio spaces with various community facilities. The centre sits on the coastal edge offering romantic views north across the Moray Firth, its form reminiscent of quartzite stone formations found along the north east coast of Scotland. Meandering along the narrow site responding to built context, orientation, views and internal function, the centre adopts a familiar palette of materials and alters them to offer something strangely familiar within the context of Buckie.


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Ciaran Garrick Stage 6 RNLI Lifeboat Service The RNLI Lifeboat Service has been an integral part of the Buckie community over the past 120 years and this proposal for a new training facility builds on the reputation of the service. Central to the ethos of the RNLI is their interaction and close relationship with the public and this adaptive re-use of the Buckie Fishmarket. It is a theatrical approach to the evolution of buildings and the question of proportion in structure and ubiquitous objects.


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Fiona Good Stage 6 The Walled Garden An original smokehouse forms the beginnings of a brick wall, skirting around an open space of self sufficiency. The wall is to house a cookery school where both resident student chefs and school children cook in two, eat in four and live in twelve. This distinct social dynamic forms a rhythm and harmony to the building, an austerity juxtaposed against a joyful garden of food grown in greenhouses, cold frames, raised deep beds and allotments. The allotments are to be managed by Cluny and rented to the local schools. This walled garden creates a small community, which is part of the wider Buckie community town and harbour. It is about people and place, staying and not going.

landscape plan


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Stage Six edinburgh unit Towards a New Edinburgh Edinburgh is located on the east coast of Scotland’s central belt, is our capital and home to the parliament. Historically, it was a city that grew and adapted to the needs of its occupants, often by making bold and innovative moves such as the construction of the New Towns and the South Bridge. Edinburgh is also the financial centre for Scotland and is a city that relies on tourism and spending of disposable income. The UK, as well as the rest of the world, is currently experiencing a recession. Edinburgh now needs to once again provide the innovation it is famous for. The pedestrianisation of the Royal Mile and extension of the proposed tram route to circumnavigate the Old Town will be the first steps to recreate the once vibrant market place found on the High Street. Retaining or reinstating all the closes and wynds to and from the High Street as well as the creation of links between the Old and New Towns will aid successful local food production. Currently, Edinburgh is victim to an excess of social problems. These include 3500 drug users, an increasingly ageing population, and lack of

affordable housing. Providing facilities for the vulnerable within the city centre, rather than the outskirts of town will ensure that the problems are tackled head on. Edinburgh’s tourism generates 9.7% of all employment making this one of the main economic contributors to the city. By expanding on Scotland’s historical traditions in a respectful and interesting way such as the proper manufacturing of the kilt, the restoration of the brewery trade, provision of a unique setting for the Military Tattoo, reviving the film festival and providing an overall cultural centre, Edinburgh will become a sustainable tourist base for both locals and visitors generating a yearlong income. There has been a railway station in the Waverley Valley for over 150 years. It looks to many of Edinburgh’s most characteristic views and structures, and is in an important position to bridge the differing urban grains of the Old and New Towns. This importance has now been forgotten. By redesigning the station to reconnect the Old and New towns as well as define views of the city, a strong sense of arrival in Scotland’s Capital city will be achieved.




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Rachel Walker Stage 6 Rehabilitation

Anna Gibb Stage 6 Detoxification

Making Connections has two functions, the first to ‘re-live’ a physical connection and the second as a flagship community rehabilitation centre. The design derived from forms orientated towards the breathtaking views of Calton Hill and the Nelson Monuments, incorporating a meandering stair offering break out gathering spaces. A vertical mask of timber louvres maintains a degree of privacy for the building occupants whilst offering voided moments of intimacy towards the views.


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A tale of Jekyll and Hyde, of dark versus light, this project is an exemplar drug and alcohol detoxification centre right in the heart of historic Edinburgh. It is a cabinet in the street which rises above the familiar roofline of the Royal Mile, enhancing the panorama from all viewpoints. Like a cabinet, the building can be open or closed and employs the natural healing ability of timber to bring its residents to recovery.



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Neil Duff and Matthew Johnstone Stage 6 The Sublime Landscape Edinburgh has emerged as a result of, and in some instances as part of, the landscape. The city is experienced through interaction with its topography. The proximity of Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, Princes Street Gardens and the castle rock to the city centre intensify the notion of landscape and topography, and reinforce their importance to Edinburgh. A new landscape bridging Princes Street, the Usher Hall and the Grassmarket, embracing these ideas, creates a new public space and topography that engages with landscape, literature and digital media.

literature section

site plan


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digital media centre


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Kevin Walker Stage 6 Local Food Production Centre Historically, Queen Street Gardens was renowned in Edinburgh for its fruit trees and children’s allotments. Through a ‘Local Food Production Centre’ these private gardens can be reconnected with the community of Edinburgh and create a local food economy.

queen street gardens plan


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Claire Bonner Stage 6 Dun Eiden Grandstand

section through the esplanade showing occupied vaults


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Emerging practices

There are a number of Scott Sutherland staff members involved in relatively new or emerging practices. David Vila Domini and Conrad Wiedermann set up a practice named EIGHTYSEVEN a couple of years ago and have already picked up a Civic Award for a beautiful stone wall in Aberdeen. Bruce Newlands’ practice Kraft Architecture was formed last Christmas and was recently commended in a national competition as part of an ongoing campaign by BD magazine to save the landmark Robin Hood Gardens Estate designed by Alison + Peter Smithson. Simon Leeman of Graham Mitchell Architects has been teaching at RGU for the past ten years. Simon’s practice is currently working on the Highland Housing Fair. Samuel Penn is working with colleagues to prepare a submission for Europan 10. In the past Penn collaborated with Robert Harvey and Graham Mitchell Architects on a design competition for an extension to Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum. Andy McAvoy’s practice, Blast, is currently on site with the conversion of a set of nineteenth century agricultural steadings within Aberdeen’s Green Belt. The proposals redefined the third side of a working courtyard to create two new passive solar wedges of accommodation. The new homes are being built from a combination of steel, Green Oak and timber frame finished with Corten cladding and sedum roofs.

Kraft’s proposals for Robin Hood Gardens


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New homes at Aberdeenshire steadings by Blast

Garden wall in Aberdeen by EIGHTYSEVEN


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Sketch plan of Museum by Sam Penn

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum proposal


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Highland Housing Fair by Graham Mitchell Architects

artist’s studio by EIGHTYSEVEN


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Research Carlos Galan Diaz

My PhD research is anchored in the presentation of final design to the client and end-users. It revolves mainly around three research questions (a) states of emotion influence environmental evaluation? (b) does taking a different perspective (e.g. architect or end-user) impact on the cognitive and emotional evaluation of the environment? and (c) are emotional reactions to the environment good predictors of preference? The work is situated within the context of environmental psychology and draws on three main areas, namely emotion, cognition and perspectivetaking in order to understand these people-environment transactions. To explore these questions, I have completed a series of studies that tap into different dimensions of the phenomenon of environmental preference. For example, one of the studies focused on a relatively new subject called restoration, or the process through which humans can reduce mental fatigue. The study investigated whether perceived environmental restorativeness (reduction of mental fatigue via design) can be evaluated through static computer generated renders (CGRs), such as those used by architects and designers to present final design options to the client/user, and if the mood people are in at the time of the evaluation has an impact on their choices. Results indicated that CGRs are adequate for testing perceived restorativeness and that mood was positively correlated

with the perceptual processes during evaluation. In other words, the more positively people reported feeling during the evaluation, the easier it was for them to ‘read’ the visuals presented to them. This research will help us understand how people’s environmental preferences are affected by processes not open to immediate introspection, and also how environmental preference can be shaped by situational factors. Gaining a better understanding of these processes could then be applied to the teaching of new generations of architects and improvement of current methods for presentation of final design.


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Research Huda Salman

Architectural students currently finalise their conceptual design propositions using Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) programs as a representational mode of thinking. This publication provides the reader with many examples of these drawings and its various representational modes. By creating these drawings, a student’s main endeavour is to convey design ideas as well as to attract the reviewers’ attention and their positive appraisal. On the other hand, this representational mode of thinking has a hidden side of the same process, being the rationale behind the creation process of these drawings. It is interesting to know how these drawings were created and what was the conceptual process behind them. Does CAAD help in creating these innovative designs? Is there any impact on the student’s performance in conceptual design? Or, was a design created via a different visual thinking medium and presented by CAAD programs? Two distinct studies were designed to examine these questions. The first study (Protocol Studies) was designed to explore CAAD as a designing medium within brainstorming sessions, by providing a “controlledcontext” to what is seen as hindrance in real situations. As this study looks to validate whether CAAD can be regarded as a new medium for contemporary designing, by tracing the rational behind the design

process in relation to design theories. The second study (Studio Reflection) was designed to better reflect the status of CAAD in the educational context at the studio, while CAAD is not an integral part of the studio teaching. Furthermore, this study anticipated in providing a “real-context” appraisal for CAAD related issues and to know what is behind the tendency to use it early in the conceptual phases of the design process. At the general level of inquiry, a questionnaire survey was circulated. Then by directly observing studio activities, the study can develop an understanding of the modern context within which the study operates. Interviewing advanced year students (March 06-07) through parts of their design reflection and acting on those reflections from a process methodological point of view enabled this study to clarify the effects of CAAD on the traditional context of the studio and how to reflect that on the teaching methods taking in consideration the primacy of drawings as a medium for design.


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Research Penny Lewis

The purpose of my research is to look at the development of ideas about sustainability (both environmental and cultural) over the past four decades and investigate how those ideas have influenced design and architectural theory. The research will try to assess to what extent the discussion about environmentalism and sustainability has changed the way in which architects and architectural critics now evaluate architectural quality and make judgments about what constitutes good design. It will also assess to what extent these discussion have made an impact on architectural practice. The starting point of my research is to study and understand the disparate nature of architectural theory since the birth the emergence of Post-modernism in the 1960s. I would like to understand to what extent ‘sustainability’ appears to provide a framework of intellectual certainty that has been lacking since the Modern Movement. Part of the study would be dedicated to a review of how the science and discussion has developed in relation to particular building types such as the University buildings. In addition, the study will look at how this particular discussion has developed in Scotland, a small country with a small population and a wealth of natural resources.

The discussion about environmental design in Scotland comes in a variety of forms, such as straw-bale houses built in Findhorn and mud houses in Perthshire, to the more technically driven approaches adopted on projects such as the BT building at Edinburgh Park. The study will involve using investigation techniques taken from a range of disciplines from environmental science to sociology. It will cover philosophical discussions about man’s relationship to nature to the literature on cultural sustainability; community, heritage, identity and the political and policy driven debates about energy consumption and population. The study will also review practical and technical publications on sustainability directed at the architectural profession.


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Research James Harty

Effective collaboration is fast becoming the clarion call within the building industry. It is closely related to building information modelling. Where the two meet is a blend of management and application. BIM is a digital process that builds a virtual model of the real world and in so doing allows analysis, simulations and full testing before the foundations are even marked out, as well as creating a useful platform for communicating with clients, authorities and financial stakeholders. Traditionally many of the problems within construction only come to light on site leading to delays, variations and counter claims, which in turn led to buildings being costlier and late, promoting client dissatisfaction. For clashes and collisions of building components to be resolved in the design phase, where it is easier to rectify and cheaper to remedy, requires all stakeholders to be involved earlier in the whole procurement. Authoring the model with floors, walls, roofs as well as doors, windows and all the other components that go to make the building allows for photo realism, fly-throughs and immersive environments. It can be analysed for thermal, daylighting and solar performance, and quantified with material take offs, costed with indexed pricing and sequenced for optimal construction phasing. This means certainty for clients, control for architects and code checking for planning authorities.

Such a ubiquitous war chest should have the industry clamouring for its adoption, but sadly it is not. Entrenched methods and the old guard disciplines are reluctant to share data, pool resources or even talk to each other without a contract and lawyer present. “Architects giveth, engineers taketh away” and “engineers think architects are dreamers, and architects think engineers are killjoys”, are prejudices that litter the professions. By contrast, contractor organisations are beginning to see the benefits of such systems and are advising their members to build a model before tendering for work if it is not already part of the package. Stuck in the middle of this impasse we have the architectural technologist, who knows the language that architects’ speak, engages engineers with an understanding of their calculations, takes off the quantities and generally administers the whole procurement process. Prove that this is indeed the profession to manage collaboration and you get a PhD.


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Postscript David McClean, Head of School

Like a collection of stills from a film, whilst not revealing the full narrative that is the Scott Sutherland School, this document nevertheless contains a selection of images that are of interest at an individual level, and which collectively allude to a sense of a greater whole. That entity is a multi-disciplinary school intent on scholarship and pedagogy appropriate for the world of contemporary practice, i.e. respectful of professional boundaries whilst eroding the barriers between disciplines that have been so frequently erected historically. We are also a school concerned with finding a place where we can contribute most meaningfully to our wider academic fields. We are unashamedly a provincial school, not in the sense of lying beyond some assumed centre of gravity, but in the literal sense of relating to a defined territory – our province. Geographically, the territory we inhabit is unique amongst architecture and built environment schools, consisting of unique and diverse urban centres, planned settlements and country estates, managed landscapes and wilderness, as well as a rich maritime heritage. Culturally, the territory is rich and diverse, with arguably stronger affinity to the east and west than to the south. And economically, the regional context includes industry at the leading edge, first in oil and gas, and increasingly in renewables.

Apart from alluding to the territory and interest referred to above, this document is interesting as it represents a snapshot of the school primarily through the eyes of our students. It is also testament to their energy and initiative, and speaks of their pride in their work and those of their peers. Justly so. That snapshot also includes within its frame a sample of the research and practice-based work being undertaken by staff, this feeding into the learning across our community, helping to make it vital, engaging and real. Were the camera in different hands, the glimpse into the school’s output may prove very different. However, I am confident that the underlying themes would reveal themselves consistently, describing a school that is purposeful and which is building a renewed sense of identity. I very much welcome the production of this booklet, not only as a record of this session’s efforts, but also as the first of an annual publication that incrementally charts our trajectory and, over time, develops to include the full breadth of the school. I am already looking forward to next year.


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Scott Sutherland School Yearbook 2009  

This yearbook is a collection of student work from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Enviroment.

Scott Sutherland School Yearbook 2009  

This yearbook is a collection of student work from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Enviroment.