St Andrews architecture wins prestigious award

The new West Burn Lane development, St Andrews

The new West Burn Lane development, St Andrews

St Andrews is a town awash with fascinating sites of historical interest and architectural magnificence, but now one of the more contemporary buildings has been recognised too.

The Best Building in Scotland Award offers the highest monetary prize for an architectural feat in the whole of the UK, and is one of the most coveted awards within Europe too.

Chosen by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), West Burn Lane in St Andrews was chosen above all of the other finalists to receive the plaudit.

The award

The RIAS award for the best building in Scotland is a title which is highly sought after amongst architects and considered to be a real honour for those that receive it.

West Burn Lane is a modern construction by architect Sutherland Hussey Harris which beat 64 other candidates to win the award. Out of the 65 entries, the judges whittled it down to just a dozen before deciding on the outright winner.

It wasn’t just contemporary buildings which were part of the competition, a wide range of structures were represented in the long list.

The judges were looking for a combination of factors including what they described as “innovation and design excellence, irrespective of size or type”, along with technical expertise, accessibility, environmental concerns and detailing.

The winner

Design render; West Burn Lane, St Andrews

Design render; West Burn Lane, St Andrews

West Burn Lane was the outright winner but the judges of the competition were keen to stress the “superb quality” demonstrated by all of the entrants, and commended the quality seen in the Scottish architecture for yet another year.

Turning to the winner, the judges were particularly impressed with the way in which the architect managed to take a contemporary design, but use inspiration from the older streets and building surrounding it so that it didn’t stick out.

A sympathetic design, the judges described the “meticulous” detailing as well as the foresight of the local authority to allow a housing development to be built which reflected the character of the local area.

Outstanding architecture

Coming to St Andrews on holiday leaves lots to see and do, and just a simple stroll around the town will reveal some of the most magnificent architecture in history.

A large number of the buildings which were once at the centre of this stunning town are now no more than a crumbling wreck but it’s possible to appreciate the beauty they once held.

The cathedral is one of the most spectacular ruins in in St Andrews, formerly being the largest building Scotland. The cliff-top location to the north of the town centre is home to St Andrews Castle, another Category A listed ruins.

There’s a number of other architectural places of interest in and around the town but if you want to see a fine example which is still standing, there’s few better than St Andrews University itself. The third oldest standing university in the English speaking countries, it’s not just a highly acclaimed educational facility; it also has some quite stunning structures which are still in place today.

And marking out the boundaries of the town, some of the “ports” still remain standing today. An old Lowland word for town gate, there’s not many ports left in Scotland with St Andrews being one of the very few notable exceptions.


Whether you come to St Andrews to visit relatives, enjoy the golf or relax in some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, the architecture of the town won’t fail to inspire, enthrall and delight you in equal measures too.

Of course, before you begin planning your itinerary, you’re going to need somewhere to stay. Look no further than St Andrews Coach Houses. We offer luxury self catered accommodation with beautiful aesthetics and all of the amenities you’ll need. For more information about our coach houses or to enquire about booking one please call us on 01334 477593.

Image Credits: Dezeen and Michael Holms Coats

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