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2019 Project of the Year: RICS Awards, Scotland

We are delighted to announce the RICS Project of the Year 2019, Scotland — Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow - along with the winners and highly commended for the RICS Awards 2019, Scotland.

A diverse range of Scotland's most impressive and community beneficial property projects battled it out for top honours at the annual awards, which were supported by headline sponsor, Sika, and held at The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa.

Project of the Year — Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow

The Willow Tea Rooms was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald.

The project restored the original Willow Tea Rooms building at 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1903 design, whilst ensuring its preservation and sustainability for subsequent generations. As well as a full restoration of the Tea Rooms, a new Visitor Centre has been created in the adjacent tenement building at 215 Sauchiehall Street, containing exhibition, education, conference, and office facilities.

RICS judges said the carefully executed and detailed restoration of the Willow Tea Room by the project team - Willow Tea Rooms Trust, Doig & Smith, Simpson & Brown and Clark Contracts - would have made this submission stand out alone, however, it also supports additional benefits.

The restoration was managed by a Trust that employed experts to guide its work and since re-opening the building has created significant local employment opportunities directly through its function as a tea room, and by the creation of a museum, learning centre and events venue.

Spot yourself - take a look at photos from this year's ceremony

Scotland - Mackintosh at the Willow
Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow

Category winners and highly commended entries

Building Conservation

Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow

Having originally opened in 1903 it had fallen into disrepair and was purchased in 2014 by The Willow Tea Rooms Trust which secured £10million to restore the building to its original condition.

There were limited original documents available and detailed research was undertaken to ensure that in addition to preserving original features the building its fitments and furniture would be restored in accordance with the original design and material specification.


The Garment Factory, Glasgow

Formerly J&W Campbell's clothing and textiles factory this Grade B Listed in Glasgow's Merchant City had fallen into disrepair.

£5.5milllion was invested to restore and or refurbish many of the internal and external features of the building and the seven-storey building now offers 6 floors of modern, open plan offices.

Judges were impressed with the work of the project team - Capita Property, Castleforge Partners, Infrastructure Ltd. (Glasgow), Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd, ISG plc and PMP - and the successful commercial venture, which has a rental income £7/ft2 - higher than predicted and when fully let it has the potential of creating 500 new jobs.

Community Benefit

Sponsored by Balfour Beatty

Music Hall Transformation, Aberdeen

The redevelopment was to act as a springboard to encourage engagement through the arts with the aspiration to improve life chances, develop citizenship and strengthen community spirit. The interest generated through community engagement undoubtably benefited the project immeasurably.

Judges were impressed by the scale of community engagement undertaken by the team - Gardiner and Theobald, BDP Architects, Kier and Aberdeen Performing Arts. Commenting that the interest generated through community engagement undoubtably benefitted the project immeasurably. The scale of community engagement is impressive, and its continued success is shown through use of the space by the community.

Scotland - Community Benefit - Music Hall Transformation
Music Hall Transformation, Aberdeen


Queensferry Crossing, Edinburgh

The Forth Replacement Crossing project, with the iconic Queensferry Crossing as its magnificent centrepiece, is Scotland's largest infrastructure project for a generation. The new bridge breaks several world records, and was delivered well below budget. It provides extensive benefits to users and communities, whilst safeguarding vital transport connections.

The crossing – delivered by Transport Scotland, Dissing+Weitling Architecture, FCBC (Galliford Try, Hochtief, Dragados and American Bridge International - has allowed vehicle movements which the Road Bridge would have had to close to high sided traffic. Journey times have been reduced and installation of an Intelligent Transport system has smoothed congestion.

Judges were impressed by the build, which has resulted in the world's longest three towered cable stay bridge and demanded the very highest engineering standards.

Highly Commended: Scottish Water - Shieldhall Tunnel, Glasgow

Scotland - Infrastructure - Queensferry Crossing
Queensferry Crossing, Edinburgh

Design Through Innovation

The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, Charlestown of Aberlour

Due to its innovative design, it is difficult to comprehend that the building is a working production line where millions of litres of whisky are being created for global consumption. The building's design is unique with an incredibly high degree of precision- there are 380,000 parts to the roof structure alone.

Judges commended the project team's – Robertson, RSHP – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Edrington - careful management of the environment, sustainability and local resources, particularly water, been considered and the building's innovative design.

Highly Commended: Bayes Centre, Edinburgh


Sponsored by Faithful+Gould

West Dunbartonshire Council Dumbarton Office, Dumbarton

16 Church Street, provides West Dunbartonshire Council with modern workspace for 500 staff, together with associated public services, in the heart of Dumbarton Town Centre.

Judges commended the projects team -Doig and Smith, Keppie, West Dumbartonshire Council and hub West Scotland - for bringing back into use an important local structure created by Glasgow's William Leiper. Also, for how the project has skilfully merged old with new while maintaining functionality and purpose. The location of the development on the high street is adjacent to local retail that has received significant economic boost.

Residential Property

Sponsored by NHBC

The Playfair at Donaldson's, Edinburgh

The Playfair at Donaldson's is renowned as one of the most iconic buildings in Edinburgh. Situated moments from Haymarket station. Following extensive restoration and conversion, new life has been breathed into this majestic building and its future has been secured for future generations to enjoy.

Judges were impressed with the work of the project team – City & Country and Richard Murphy Architects – in creating an exemplary vision to create a sympathetic conversion with a strong conservation principle to provide unique accommodation and create a remarkable and striking residential development.

Scotland - Residential - The Playfair at Donaldson's
The Playfair at Donaldson’s, Edinburgh

Tourism & Leisure

V&A Dundee, Dundee

The V&A is Scotland's first design museum and part of the regeneration of Dundee and the Tayside region, attracting international attention and encouraging visitors from across Scotland, the UK and around the world.

RICS judges commended the exemplary collaboration of the project team - Kenga Kuma & Associates, CBA, BAM, Dundee City Council and Turner & Townsend – in creating eye-catching external design of the building, mirroring the cliffs and waters of the River Tay. The V and A have engaged with the local community at all levels and offer a truly inspiring visitor destination.

Scotland - Tourism & Leisure - V&A Dundee
V&A Dundee, Dundee

Thank you to our sponsors

  • Community Benefit

    Balfour Beatty
  • Regeneration

    Faithful + Gould
  • RICS Awards headline sponsor

  • Residential Property