New home makes waves at Borders design awards, and 18th century mansion a winner too

The new sports hall at Peebles High School.
The new sports hall at Peebles High School.

New homes and a mansion dating back to 1750 were among the entries making waves at this year’s Scottish Borders Design Awards.

The Wave, a house at Kirkton Manor, south west of Peebles, and Marchmont House, near Polwarth in Berwickshire, were two of the five winners announced at a ceremony held at Scottish Borders Council’s Newton headquarters this week.

Councillor Ron Smith giving Leet Haugh's award to Jamie Hudson of Hudson Hirsel and David Burgher of Aitken Turnbull.

Councillor Ron Smith giving Leet Haugh's award to Jamie Hudson of Hudson Hirsel and David Burgher of Aitken Turnbull.

They were picked from 30 entries for the two-yearly awards, launched in 1984 by the council’s planning and regulatory service in a bid to inspire developers and raise the overall standard of building design.

The Wave, designed for Stephen Furst and Alison Goodwin by Galashiels architecture firm Aitken Turnbull and built by Dumfries and Galloway’s 3b Construction, won the award for best new-build residential development.

Commendations in that class went to Little Lindisfarne at Hawick and Maple Tree House at Darnick, near Melrose.

A revamp of Marchmont House designed by Ladykirk firm Smith and Garratt for Marchmont Farms was given a special award for conservation and design.

The other winners were, for new-build commercial, the new sports hall at Peebles High School; for works to an existing building, Blakeburn at Gattonside, near Melrose; and for placemaking, the Leet Haugh estate at Coldstream.

The Peebles High School gym was designed for the council in-house and built by Graham Construction, of Edinburgh

Blakeburn was designed for Anna Karczewska by Matt Johnston at A449 in Edinburgh and built by Galashiels firm Ainslie Contracting.

The Leet Haugh estate, off Duns Road, was designed by Aitken Turnbull for Peebles-based developer and builder Hudson Hirsel.

Other commendations went to Born in the Borders at Lanton Mill, near Jedburgh, and Old School Place at Lauder.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Ron Smith, the council’s executive member for planning and environment and chairman of its planning and building standards committee, said: “Once again, the entries for these awards have highlighted the high quality of building design right across the Borders.

“The judges have had a difficult task in selecting winners from the large number of entries.

“Hopefully, the winning and commended designs, which are innovative, contemporary and forward thinking, will inspire future projects in the region and beyond.”

The independent judging panel was chaired by Andy Millar, a former built and natural heritage manager for the council, with David Suttie representing the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland and Iain Connelly acting for the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Mr Millar, of Peebles, said: “We shortlisted, then visited, 13 entries.

“Many thanks to all entrants and especially to those we met on the visits. Those two days were rewarding and inspiring.” Praising the Wave, a spokesman for the judges said: “The client wished a building for this special site to connect with and to enjoy the beautiful Manor Valley.

“The house’s distinctive curved and sculptural roof with extensive glazing provides a signature building that provokes thought but sits well with its surroundings.

“Internally, the hierarchy of spaces, attention to detail and craftsmanship delight, but it is the framed views of the ever changing landscape which are magical.”

Their verdict on the Peebles gym was: “The architects have created a distinctive and bold blue building with curved roofs to echo the surrounding hills.

“Internally, the high quality finishes, attention to detail and an engaging colour palette delight.

“The clever use of apertures to connect with the outside world is a lovely touch.”

Explaining the award for Blakeburn, the spokesman said: “The adaptation and extension of this modest cottage is supreme, both in its apparent simplicity and clever choice of materials and is beautifully detailed.

“The well-considered landscaping compliments the building and sits beautifully in its countryside setting.

“Internally, its Tardis qualities reveal a delightful sequence of internal spaces emboldened by the imaginative use of the roof void and window placement, resulting in a light and joyful home and workspace.”

The judges’ comments on Leet Haugh were: “With two phases completed, there is now a real sense of place.

“There is a hierarchy of space and a lovely contrast between the courtyard and the large village green.

“The houses have a vernacular theme, and great care has been taken to provide distinctive homes.

“The vision of the landowner has been energetically embraced and enhanced by the developer to provide a step change for placemaking within the Borders.”

Praising Marchmont House’s refurbishment, the spokesman said: “The internal remodelling of this great house involved a complex interplay of technical, historic fabric and artistic matters to be reconciled with the need to create a home for the 21st century.

“The attention to detail is meticulous, with the surveyors working closely with many Borders craftspeople.

“The result is a tour de force, with a sequence of rooms and spaces which both inspire and surprise.”