A Scottish building has taken the top honour in the UK Civic Building of the Year Awards.
Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries has scooped the prestigious title at the UK ‘Oscars’ for buildings in the public sector. It was a double celebration at the SPACES ceremony when the venue won a second award for the best in Heritage category.
Michelle Sweeney, director of creative development and delivery and Dallas Mechan, museums, archives and galleries manager from ONFife Cultural Trust, which manages the venue, collected the awards at Hilton City Centre, Cambridge.
Michelle said: ‘This award recognises the impact of the building on the community as well as its architectural merits, so this is of particular value to us as we have worked so hard to connect with the local community and it is terrific to have this recognized.
‘We were delighted to accept this award on behalf of the wider team, particularly Fife Council, who had the vision to commission the building at the start and led the project throughout the construction process.
‘Winning best in Heritage is an acknowledgement that our ambitious new building has provided a stunning contemporary gateway to Dunfermline’s heritage quarter, shining a spotlight on Dunfermline’s historic buildings, notably the world’s first Carnegie Library and Dunfermline Abbey.’
Alan Paul, senior manager, Fife Council Property Services, said: ‘When it committed to this project in 2006, Fife Council’s stated aim was to create a centre to encourage and promote wider enjoyment and participation in Dunfermline’s heritage and culture. It was to be a building of architectural merit that would complement, bind and enhance its historic setting.
‘It is to the council’s credit that it held to this ambition over the years it took to deliver the project. The result is not just an exceptional piece of architecture, resolving complex issues in a sensitive historic environment, it is proving to be a successful new cultural hub for the City and people of Dunfermline.’
Andrew Rowe, President of SPACES said: ‘The awards are not purely about design. They recognise the importance of team play in delivering a project that aims to achieve the ‘golden triangle’ in terms of meeting the brief, delivering on time and to the set budget. Given the ever-strained economic climate we are working within and the scrutiny of public funding, achieving value for money continues to be a key objective.’
The building has given the town its first dedicated gallery space to a standard which can accept national collection loans. It has reinvigorated the public library area and has a dedicated children’s library and has increased public access computers.
Designed by Richard Murphy Architects and delivered by BAM Construction, DCL&G now joins two B-listed buildings – the existing Carnegie Library and a former bank branch – and has a purpose-built modern extension which overlooks the grounds of Dunfermline Abbey.
The facility is home to a museum over two floors, three temporary exhibition galleries, a café, a shop, a new children’s library and the Reading Room – a local history, study and archives space.
DCL&G opened to the public on Thursday, 18 May 2017 and is the gateway to the Dunfermline Heritage Quarter. Fife Cultural Trust staff, who manage and operate the facility on behalf of Fife Council, have tracked an average of 5,000+ visitors per week ever since.
In June 2017, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) declared Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries one of 12 winners of the 2017 award for best current Scottish architecture. Fife Council were also the recipients of the Scottish Government’s ‘Client of the Year’ award.
The project subsequently scooped the prestigious RIAS Andrew Doolan Award for ‘Building of the Year’. In addition, the building won Edinburgh Architectural Association’s ‘Building of the Year’ and ‘Large Project of the Year’ awards in April 2017.
It also won the award for Community Benefit from The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors of Scotland 2018. In June 2018, DCL&G which is at the heart of the Heritage Quarter became the Fife town’s first five-star attraction, after securing VisitScotland’s top quality award.