Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Award of the Scottish Castles Association Charles McKean Memorial Prize for Architecture 2016

NEW! View the winners' entry - see below

The Scottish Castles Association is pleased to announce the award of the Charles McKean Memorial Prize for Architecture 2016. This new prize, particularly appropriate in this year of Innovation in Architecture and Design, is for the best architecture student design for the reoccupation and extension of a ruinous tower house or castle. Our late President of the Scottish Castles Association 2011-2013, Professor Charles McKean, was keenly interested in modern uses for old buildings and we know he would have been excited by the imaginative responses received. Entries, which were all of a high standard, designed re-use and extensions for Gilbertfield Tower (Lanark), Newark Castle (Fife) and Preston Tower (Prestonpans).

SCA Award Ceremony
From left: RIAS President Willie Watt, Lord Steel of Aikwood, Lucy Allen, Margaret McKean, Richard Thomson, SCA President Prof. Richard Oram

Click the image to view the winning plans for Preston Tower

A sample submission plan for Preston Tower

Prestontower 130
Preston Tower

The judges unanimously agreed that the entry of Richard Thomson, Lucy Allen and Jon Allcock from the University of Edinburgh should be the winner. They designed a scheme to revitalise the ruined Preston Tower in Prestonpans, pictured left, by proposing a new craft glass workshop within the walled garden, with an attached café and exhibition spaces. In addition, concerned about the disconnect between the town and the tower, the students created an interactive trail through the town's industrial and cultural heritage, using the popular treasure-hunting phone app Geocaching'.

Will their plans ever be realised? Who knows! But the Scottish Castles Association (SCA) is very encouraged by the interest in castle restoration among the architects of tomorrow.

On Thursday 22nd September The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) kindly hosted a reception to mark the presentation of the SCA Charles McKean Memorial Prize. RIAS President Willie Watt welcomed the audience and SCA President Richard Oram replied with thanks, before John Hunter, vice chair of the SCA and long-term supporter of the award, explained the background. Lord Steel of Aikwood, a former President of the SCA and restorer of Aikwood Tower, presented the prizes, along with Margaret McKean, to Edinburgh University students Richard Thomson and Lucy Allen. (Jon Allcock, the third member of the triumvirate, was unable to attend).

LEFT: John Hunter RIGHT: Lord Steel of Aikwood

The SCA is happy to acknowledge the generous donation of David Scott, which enabled us to offer an enticing prize. We also gratefully thank RIAS for their support and sponsorship.

Article by SCA chair Janet Brennan-Inglis.

Added: 26 Nov 2016 Updated: 16 Oct 2023
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