Helensburgh Town Centre Public Realm recognised with prestigious RIAS Award

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Published Date: 

17 Jun 2016 - 10:25

Helensburgh’s revitalised town centre public realm, designed by Austin-Smith:Lord on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council, took home a prestigious Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Award at a high profile ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow, on Wednesday 16th June.


This year’s RIAS awards, which celebrate the very best that is being built in Scotland, are particularly significant coming in the centenary of the institute.


RIAS commended the bold regeneration project, which forms part of Argyll and Bute Council’s CHORD regeneration initiative, for delivering on ‘the design ethos to create a town centre with attractive, usable and flexible public spaces to support community events, festivals and markets.’


Along with the other RIAS 2016 award winners, Helensburgh Town Centre will now be part of the short-list for the RIAS Doolan Award for Architecture.


The architects of the winning project in the Doolan Award will receive £25,000, making this both the largest architectural prize in the UK and one of the most significant architecture awards in the world.


This is the second national award for Helensburgh Town Centre.


Last month, the innovative project was recognised with a Scottish Design Award, which rewards top architecture firms and design agencies for their contribution to the country’s historic and contemporary design culture.


The project was also short-listed for four other awards this year - RICS Awards 2016,

FX International Design Awards, the Civic Trust Awards and the Scottish Property Awards.


As well as attractive, usable and flexible public spaces, Helensburgh Town Centre now features walkways, soft landscaped areas, tree lines and lighting columns set out in a way which enhances and frames the high-quality, listed buildings within Colquhoun Square, the civic heart of the town.


Completed in summer 2015, the project also includes an innovative ‘Outdoor Museum’ in Colquhoun Square as well as the redevelopment of all of the principal surrounding streets and the West Bay Esplanade.


Councillor Ellen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Infrastructure, said:


“This is wonderful news. We are absolutely delighted that this major improvement project continues to gain national recognition.


“Now we have an attractive, usable and flexible public space for general enjoyment and to support community events, festivals and markets.


“Awards like this are a real vote of confidence in the council’s regeneration work.”


Graham Ross, Austin-Smith:Lord Partner, says: 


“We are all the more thrilled to receive such a prestigious award in the centenary year of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. It's an honour to be amongst an impressive crop of RIAS award winners that collectively showcase the best in contemporary Scottish architecture and design.

“Community consultation and collaborative working by a talented team has been at the heart of delivering this successful project in Helensburgh. In the midst of this week's World Town Leadership Summit in Edinburgh, the example of Helensburgh demonstrates the positive impact town centre regeneration can have.

“The RIAS Award recognises both the vision of Argyll and Bute Council’s CHORD regeneration project as well as design team's ability to interpret the hopes and ideas of local people to transform their town for the better."