The hunt is on for the best designed new buildings in the Borders for a special awards ceremony which will take place this autumn.
Last held in 2016, the Borders Building Design Awards are back for 2018.
The aim of the Scottish Borders Council backed competition is to promote good building design locally and to strengthen links between builders, architects, council planners and other industry professionals.
Councillor Tom Miers, executive member for planning and environment, launched the 2018 awards at Marchmont House in Berwickshire, which scooped an award in 2016.
The venue is also hosting this year’s awards ceremony.
Tom said: “The Borders Building Design Awards aim to encourage the highest quality building design across the Borders – whether it is modern, innovative or traditional.
“Good building design is a priority for this council.
“It enhances our surroundings and quality of life and is essential if we want to attract new jobs and investment to the Borders.
“Our sponsors are a huge part of these awards because creating a legacy of great building design in the Borders is down to the industry itself.
“These companies are putting their money where their mouth is in this belief.”
Hugo Burge, from Marchmont House, knows only too well what taking part in the awards can mean to local build projects.
For Marchmont received a special commendation in the 2016 awards, following a four year project to transform the landmark site, owned by the Burge family since 2005.
Hugo said: “We are delighted to host these awards, celebrating excellence in creativity in the built environment, which is very much a fit for our aspirations.
“We were pleased to have received a special commendation in 2016 after four years of work to restore Marchmont House.
“It was nice to get some recognition for the work we had done, as well as getting the chance to see other innovative projects being celebrated in the Borders.”
Marchmont had been used as a Sue Ryder nursing home until 2005 when it was decided it was no longer fit for that purpose.
Hugo and his father, Oliver, who are both directors of Marchmont Farms Ltd, then had a dilemma on their hands – to purchase the house or not.
They decided to buy the property but the subsequent financial crash in 2007 meant the project was mothballed until 2012.
Their reinvention of the House began in earnest that year, with Hugh Garratt from Smith and Garratt chartered surveyors in Ladykirk serving as project manager.
The aim was to involve local firms and craftsmen as far as practicable and more than 85 per cent came from south-east Scotland.
This attention to detail saw Marchmont House receive a special commendation for conservation and design in the 2016 Scottish Borders Design Awards and, a year later, a commendation in the 2017 Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restorations Awards.
Accommodation is available for up to 20 people in ten guest bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom.
There are also five staff bedrooms which can be let.
The house – an imposing Grade A listed Palladian mansion built in 1750 by Hugh Hume-Campbell, the 3rd Earl of Marchmont – is also available, in-part or as whole, for private or corporate lettings.
At its core Georgian, changes were made at the turn of the 20th century by Sir Robert Lorimer – a key Scottish protagonist of the arts and crafts movement.
So large parts of the house are furnished in the spirit of this movement with a diverse collection of furniture, pictures, textiles and ceramics.
And there are now plans to hold events dedicated to this important period.
Hugo added: “We want to bring the house back to life by making it a home for makers and creators from far and wide.”
Alongside Marchmont House, property consultants Knight Frank, independent builders’ merchant MKM Building Supplies and window, door and off-site building suppliers Sidey Solutions are sponsoring the 2018 awards.
The Borders Building Design Awards started in 1984 and are held every two years. The competition was last staged in 2016 during the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture.
How to enter the 2018 awards
This year, there are four separate entry categories.
* New Build (individual buildings) residential
* New Build (individual buildings) non-residential
* Placemaking (new developments that contribute to creating a sense of place)
* Work to Existing Buildings (including conversions/extensions).
All types of projects are eligible – from small to large scale, urban to rural, domestic to commercial.
And, if appropriate, applications can be considered for more than one category or award.
Projects must be within the Scottish Borders area and have been completed, or will be completed, in the period between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2018.
Either the owner or the designer can make applications to the awards and there is no entry fee.
Submissions should be made no later than June 1, 2018. Details and application forms are available at https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/designawards.
The forms are also available by writing to the Lead Officer (Built Heritage & Design), Scottish Borders Council HQ, Newtown St Boswells, TD6 0SA, or phone 01835 826563. A panel of independent experts who represent the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland (RTPI) and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), chaired by Hugo Burge, will judge the competition, with winners being invited to an awards ceremony in autumn 2018 at Marchmont House.
A certificate and cast aluminium plaque will be presented to the winner in each category.
At the judges’ discretion, special commendations may also be made.