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Mission hut at Croick shortlisted for Highland design award

By Ali Morrison

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A LUXURY hotel, the onshore base of one of Scotland’s biggest wind farm projects and a museum are among the diverse shortlist for the 2020 Inverness Architectural Association (IAA) Design Awards.

The awards had been due to take place in Eden Court in Inverness on November 6, but although the physical ceremony will not now go ahead an hour-long virtual celebration will be broadcast online on Monday, November 9 instead.

“The decision to go digital has obviously been prompted by the pandemic, but we’ve realised that moving to an online platform actually allows us to reach a wider audience both geographically and demographically,” IAA committee member Catriona Hill said.

“We’ve always wanted to reach more people and using social media and online presentations has finally enabled us to reach out to everyone who is interested in architecture – not just architects.”

Shortlisted buildings include An Talla at Dochgarroch, Loch Ness by Jacobite’s visitor centre and café close to the Caledonian Canal and the five-star Ness Walk Hotel, the Wasps Studio creative academy and the Raining’s Stairs housing development, all in Inverness.

Other nominees include Gairloch Museum, the Croick Mission Hut in Sutherland, which is being transformed into self-catering holiday accommodation, and the Beatrice wind farm operations and maintenance base in Wick, which has seen the restoration of 200-year old harbour front buildings originally designed by the great engineer Thomas Telford.

Ms Hill said the awards had seen slightly fewer applications this year, possibly as a result of furlough earlier in the year.

But she added: “The quality of the submissions has, however, remained very high and we continue to see innovative and exemplary design solutions which demonstrate the high calibre of architectural practices which are based here in the north of Scotland.”

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