Doolan prize

Aberdeen Art Gallery named Scotland’s best building

Prize-winner: Aberdeen Art Gallery

Aberdeen Art Gallery is the winner of the 2021 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.

The winning architects, Hoskins, receive a £10,000 cash prize, making the Doolan Award one of the most significant architecture awards in the world.  The Scottish Government also supports the award.

The building has been refurbished and extended, transforming one of Scotland’s cultural institutions, thereby demonstrating how contemporary architecture, historic building conservation and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand.

Through a decade-long redevelopment project, new exhibition and education spaces have been created, improving the gallery’s art handling, storage, back of house and study facilities.

The special character and grandeur of the 19th century category A listed building has been preserved, and a dramatic copper-clad roof is among a series of striking contemporary interventions that have revitalised the gallery and its relationship with the city.

The annual Doolan Award is assessed by a jury who look at each project’s architectural integrity, usability and context, delivery and execution, and sustainability.

All types of building are eligible for the award, which is named in memory of its founder and patron, the architect/developer Andy Doolan, who died in 2004.

Christina Gaiger, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery is an outstanding building and a highly deserving winner of the 2021 Doolan Award.

“Hoskins Architects have brought a piece of Scottish heritage into the 21st century with humility, skill and sensitivity. In the face of the climate emergency, how we upgrade, respect and adapt our existing building stock is absolutely crucial.”

Chris Coleman-Smith, director at Hoskins Architects, said: “The team has done an exceptional job of subtly and sensitively restoring original features of the 19th century building and improving fabric performance, alongside confident alteration and the bold addition of new elements that enhance the visitor experience, knitting together a thread of careful conservation and the requirements of a world class, 21st century gallery.”

The shortlist for the 2021 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award was:

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen by Hoskins Architects
  • Bayes Centre, Edinburgh by Bennetts Associates
  • The Egg Shed, Ardrishaig by Oliver Chapman Architects
  • The Hill House Box, Helensburgh by Carmody Groarke
  • Sportscotland National Sports Training Centre Inverclyde by Reiach and Hall Architects


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