Richard Murphy, Matt Bremner and Kris Grant attended the official opening of our new building in Fife on the 6th September. The opening by the Provost of Fife, Councillor Jim Leishman MBE (on the right) also involved Richard giving an illustrated short talk twice to different groups of guests. Also seen (from the left) are Gary Bushnell, Chief Executive of Hub East Central Scotland, Councillor Helen Law, Convener of Dunfermline Area Committee and Hub East Central Scotland Chairman Ian Mullen. Meanwhile the building has been granted an RIAS award (equivalent to an RIBA regional award elsewhere) and is consequently shortlisted for the “Doolan Prize,” the annual prize given to the best building built in Scotland. That award is announced on the 7th November.
The practice has been commissioned to design a permanent home for the collection of George Wylie drawings and sculptures held by the George Wylie Trust. The building will be built in Wylie’s home town of Greenock on a sea front site.
Following on from our highly successful “Best Building in Ireland Award” at the National University of Ireland, Galway Campus, O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, our second collaboration with Taylor Architects of Castlebar, we have successfully been included on a small framework of architects invited to bid for future projects in the campus of the University of Dublin.
Our proposals for the Royal High School might now be getting close to being a real possibility. The City Council recently rejected for the second time alternative hotel proposals. Our own proposals were, by contrast, unanimously supported by the committee and have planning and listed building consent, as well as the support of the vast majority of Edinburgh citizens. Watch this space or the website of the trust for developing news: http://www.rhspt.org
The French Consulate have appointed us to work on the conversion of the former Lothian Region council offices on George IV Bridge. They are moving both the Consulate and the French Institute from their current home on Randolph Crescent.
A date for a “breaking ground” ceremony on the 10th November has been set. John Dennis have been appointed as contractors and our extension should be on site to be built in two phases to keep the centre operational during the entire construction period. As part of the fund raising Richard hosted a lunch for the international fashion superstar Roland Mouret and guests of the Maggie's Centre at his house.
A special exhibition "Ages of Wonder" at the Royal Scottish Academy about the collection of the RSA opens on 4th November and will consist of over 450 works from the Academy’s Collection. The practice was commissioned to design a special cabinet to display some of the smaller and also some of the more idiosyncratic items and this has been nicknamed the “Wunderkammer.” It sits as a free standing object at the end of the major axis in the lower galleries until the exhibition closes on 7th January after which it is divided into three parts and reassembled in a permanent home along the entire north wall of the new President’s Room.The picture shows the cabinet in construction in the workshop of P. J. Green Ltd.
A residential annexe within the garden of Seabank House has been submitted for planning permission in the village of Elie in Fife. The annexe is an upside down” design focusing on a small courtyard with views of the sea from the upper level. Meanwhile the Theosophy Society of Scotland have commissioned us to build their new headquarters in a mews lane in the Edinburgh New Town. The building consists primarily of office and meeting room on the ground floor and a library for their extensive historic book collection on the first floor.
Two major buildings, the renovation and extension of Perth Theatre and the construction of a new Science Faculty building for Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge are both being handed over to their respective clients this October. Perth Theatre is due to be ready for the first performance of the pantomime season on 9th December. The Science Faculty building will undergo a period of fit-out with the first students entering in the January term. Professional photographs of both buildings will appear in the next newsletter.
Meanwhile two of our private house commissions are on the “home straight” with completion dates in the New Year. On the left is our house in Dalkey near Dublin and on the right the "secret" courtyard house at Tipperlinn Road in the Morningside area of Edinburgh.
Our two major housing projects at the former Donaldson's School in Edinburgh are both progressing very well. The conversion of the Grade A listed school by City and Country anticipates their first show flat open to the public early in 2018 with a phased inhabitation starting mid-2018. To the north Cala Homes are well underway with the crescents of new build apartments. The aerial photograph shows the two crescents to the north of the historic building with the slab to the underground parking already poured on the left hand crescent. Steel work erection has just started.
Our project with RPP Architects in Belfast for an 80 bed Acute Mental Health facility is now about half way through its programme. The picture gives an idea as to the enormity of the project in the centre of the city. The five main wards can be seen sitting around their respective courtyards, top right, centre, left and lower left. In the centre is the circular cloistered courtyard and bottom right is the entrance courtyard.
Richard’s new 384 page blockbuster book on the Castlevecchio Museum in Verona has now been printed and is currently en route from China expected to be here in Edinburgh by mid-October. The picture shows Richard and Daryl Robbins. Daryl re-drew on the computer all the original survey drawings and has been the organisational genius behind the project. A website has been created for the book, www.breakfastmissionpublishing.com and orders can be taken there with a 10% discount if the order is placed before the estimated publication date of 1st November. The reviews of the book so far have been extraordinary and you can get a taste of them here:
...a brilliant and exhaustive study - Kenneth Frampton, WARE PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE AT THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE PLANNING AND PRESERVATION, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK
I am confident in saying this second edition will never be surpassed, for there is nothing left unsaid or unexplored regarding the building or its architect. This book is a true masterpiece - Robert McCarter, RUTH AND NORMAN MOORE PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS
This is a search for the absolute essence of architecture, - Hugh Pearman, EDITOR, RIBA JOURNAL’
Any description of the museum and Scarpa’s involvement with it will tend to end up as a précis of part or all of Murphy’s book - Fred Scott, AUTHOR OF ON ALTERING ARCHITECTURE, ROUTLEDGE 2008, LONDON’
The Dunfermline project continued to cause waves with further articles in various publications other than those mentioned in the last newsletter, including the July editions of the RIBA Journal, Urban Realm and Project Scotland. In the former Les Lvett said, “Long live the town library: Dunfermline, Fife and Richard Murphy Architects show how it’s done”.
An article about Richard’s own house in Hart Street (RIBA “House of the Year, 2016”) appeared unexpectedly in the German newspaper Der Spiegel in September. Called the “transformer-haus” it has sparked interest from two German TV companies “DW” and “ZDF” both of whom have now come across to Edinburgh to film the house. DW’s piece (in English) can be seen here: http://www.dw.com/en/euromaxx-lifestyle-europe/av-40589778 and ZDF will broadcast later this year.
The RIBA House of the Year 2017 is once again combining with the Grand Designs and Channel 4 and is expected to broadcast four consecutive programmes looking at twenty houses with the judges visiting seven shortlisted designs. As last year’s winner, Richard is a jury member and he was recently filmed in his house reflecting on this year’s competition.
Autumn is a very busy period for lectures about the office's work. On 22nd September Richard lectured to Dundee University students as part of their ADAS series of lectures. He was also the main lecturer of a day of events in our own O'Donaghue Theatre in Galway, which was recently awarded the Best Building in Ireland. He needed to stay an extra day to repeat the lecture such was the demand for tickets. He will be giving talks to students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture on 13th October at 12:30pm; to students at Bournemouth University on Thursday 2nd November; and to the Inverness Chapter of the RIAS at 2:00pm in Dornoch on Friday 3rd November and to the Malaysian Society of Architects in Kuala Lumpur on 16th November. Richard and Bill are also talking to the Tayside Decorative and Fine Arts Society in our new Perth Theatre on 8th November alongside Philip Long from the V & A in Dundee.
Forget the Stirling Prize, forget the Doolan Award, forget the House of the Year...... far more important is that one of our practice's architects, Tom Hetherington, has been competing in Channel 4’s GREAT BRITISH BAKEOFF!! We have all been willing guinea pigs to Tom’s creations for many a month but Tom kept his secret from almost everyone until the absolute last minute! Sadly he hasn’t made it into the last few rounds but Tom, please keep those cakes coming!