The winning proposal for an international competition to design the new Crichton Project cultural center in Dumfries, Scotland, has been announced. A team formed by O’DonnellBrown Architects will now deliver the £15 million (USD $18 million) building with the help of White Arkitekter and the English studio Ekkist.
Their concept beat out 69 teams with a retrofitting proposal that organizers at the RIAS said, “does justice to The Crichton Trust’s brief and progressive approach.” The scheme calls for the repurposing of the Trust’s existing Merrick building to include exhibition spaces, archives, and study space, and research center in a design that pays homage to founder Elizabeth Crichton’s understanding of the “connection of people to place.”
The new building will retain the existing concrete and steel frame of a former laundry facility while adding structural rammed earth elements and a series of curated gardens and courtyards around the perimeter of the structure, which comes encased in two “dramatic” sandstone volumes.
White Arkitekter says: "Our approach to materiality was based on low carbon, natural and locally available materials with a focus on those with added health benefits. New rammed earth walls made using local soils and pigmented with local sandstone and crushed red bricks of the existing building, tie in with the colour tone and hues of the adjacent sandstone buildings. New pitched roof forms clad with dark grey slate tiles take reference from, and add to, the family of decorative gables so familiar within the Estate. Lined with timber, these roofs will provide a sense of awe and delight, whilst the rammed earth walls will ensure that spaces are always comfortable for users."
“We are delighted that the Crichton Trust have selected our team to progress designs for The Crichton Project," O'Donnell Brown's Director Michael Dougall said. "The structure of the competition, set by the RIAS, provided the opportunity for a truly collaborative design process. Working alongside White Arkiteker, Ekkist and the wider consultant team we enjoyed how the range of expertise and experience across the team directly influenced and shaped our design response. We are looking forward to widening this collaboration with the involvement of The Crichton Trust and the people who work, visit, and study within the inspiring context of The Crichton Estate.”
White Arkitekter notes this is the firm's first project in Scotland as well as its first-ever use of rammed earth materials in the UK. More details can be found by visiting the competition's web page here.
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