Stromness Pierhead, Competition – New Building, Images, Scottish Design

Stromness Harbour Development : Pierhead Competition

Winning Orkney Project, Scotland – design by Malcolm Fraser Architects

13 Aug 2008

Stromness Harbour

Award-winning Edinburgh Architects Win Major International Design Competition

Proposal by Malcolm Fraser Architects – Pierhead square:
Pierhead Stromness Harbour Building design
image from architect

Pierhead at Stromness

The award-winning Edinburgh architecture practice Malcolm Fraser Architects has won a major international design competition, coordinated by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) on behalf of Orkney Islands Council, for the £3million redevelopment of Stromness Pierhead. The winning design was selected from a shortlist which included Graeme Massie Architects and Reiach and Hall Architects. The concept designs of three shortlisted practices were recently exhibited in Stromness, with public comment invited.

Proposal by Malcolm Fraser Architects – Pierhead square diagrams:
Stromness Harbour Development
image from architect

This international competition affects the Pierhead at Stromness, the point of entry to the town for visitors from the sea and land. At present this exposed area is a mix of scattered buildings, car parking and roads, among which are set some particularly fine pieces of historic architecture which demonstrate the rich history of the place and its relationship with the sea.

This is arguably one of the most sensitive areas in any Scottish town. Its redesign requires an awareness of the value of its historic architecture and the site’s long-standing role as a meeting place, a gathering space and a place of celebration for the community and for visitors. The competition sought a number of new community facilities, enhancing the local library provision and creating a new multi-use community hall.

Proposal by Malcolm Fraser Architects – Pierhead entry court image:
Stromness Pierhead
image from architect

Andrew Wright OBE, Past President of the RIAS, who chaired the judging panel said: “All the entrants to this competition recognise that Stromness is a very special place, requiring a very careful architectural response. All three practices put an immense amount of work into designs which were all very impressive, representing three quite different approaches. However the scheme by Malcolm Fraser Architects in its sensitivity to the materials and built forms which define Stromness determined that this practice is the strong winner of this important international competition.

Graeme Massie Architects’ proposal envisaged replacing the Victorian Town House with a new flexible facility which would connect the harbour area to the townscape behind.

Entry by Graeme Massie Architects – image:
Stromness Pierhead building
image from architect

Reiach and Hall Architects’ design proposed introducing a powerful new harbourfront building which would serve as library, meeting space, market area and community facilities, while creating shelter behind.

Entry by Reiach and Hall Architects – images:
Stromness Pierhead design Stromness Pierhead design Stromness Pierhead design Stromness Pierhead design Stromness Pierhead design
images from architect

The winning submission, by Malcolm Fraser Architects, creates both a sense of enclosure and new buildings which delineate a landscaped public square. In scale, style and materials these buildings are designed to fit within the context of the town although their design introduces new highlights which are boldly contemporary.

James Stockan, Orkney Islands Council’s Vice Convener and chair of the Stromness Town Centre Partnership, said: “We look forward to moving the project forward, not only with the team at Malcolm Fraser, but also with the people of Stromness. Participation by the people who live and work in the town has been vital in this process. Malcolm Fraser Architects understand the town, its people and its aspirations and have produced a design concept that is affordable, desirable and will make a significant addition to the rich architectural fabric of Stromness.”

Malcolm Fraser commented: “We’re dancing a jig. We feel that we’ve made friends with Stromness: it’s a neighbourly, independent-minded, passionate and involved place, with traditions of building that are particular, honed and sophisticated. We couldn’t be happier to be offered the chance to work with all this.”

Arnie Dunn, President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, commented: “Once again this competition demonstrates that architecture is about engagement with the community. The winning design is a creative response which will bring great benefits to the people of Stromness. It has been a privilege for the Incorporation to work with Orkney Islands Council to reach this fantastic result.”

Pier Arts Centre Stromness opened in 2007

Pier Arts Centre Stromness
photo © Adrian Welch

Pier Arts Centre Orkney : Andy Doolan Awards winner

Scottish Design Awards 2008 Grand Prix winner

Stromness Pier Arts Centre
photo : Gavin Fraser

Pier Arts Centre Stromness Arts Centre
photos : Ioana Marinescu

Malcolm Fraser Architects

Location: Stromness Harbour, Scotland

Architecture in Scotland

Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list

Orkney Buildings

Pier Arts Centre building architects : Reiach and Hall, Edinburgh – contact details

Highlands Buildings

Scottish Architecture – Northern Selection

The Mareel, Shetland

Eden Theatre Extension, Inverness
Eden Court Theatre

Scottish Architect

Comments / photos for the Stromness Architecture Competition page welcome