Watch: A Royal message for Aberdeenshire's 2020 Design Awards winners
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Winners have been announced, for the 2020 Aberdeenshire Architectural and Landscape Design Awards (AALDA).
The event, which was originally due to be held in October, takes the form of a web showcase this year.
His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, recorded a video message for the online showcase, to highlight his personal links with Aberdeenshire and announce the overall winner.
The Prince’s Foundation, which has assisted numerous projects in Aberdeenshire over the years, were keen to be involved in the innovative showcase.
Speaking in the video, The Duke of Rothesay said: “I am delighted to have been asked to say a few words about Aberdeenshire Architectural and Landscape Design Awards.
"For over a decade, these awards have been important for promoting and recognizing new design, as well as building conservation and adaptation across Aberdeenshire.
"Of course, Aberdeenshire could hardly be closer to my heart.
"Ever since my childhood, I have cherished this very special part of the world where I have had the opportunity for many years to meet local people and visit all parts of the county and, of course, to attend the Braemar Highland Games regularly.”
The showcase site confirms the winners for 2020.
Overall winner for 2020 (Ian Shepherd award) - The Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar.
Category winners -
Building Communities for the Future award: Foveran Village, Foveran.
Business Enterprise award: The Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar.
Conservation and Building Adaption award: The Faithlie Centre, Fraserburgh.
Innovative Single House Design award: Drummargettie (Crathie)
Landscape Design award: Silver Birches, Alford
Student award: Co-Working and Co-Living (conceptual scheme, Robert Couttes, RGU student)
It was all change for the biennial event, now in its 12th year this included a new student judge being added to the judging panel, The Duke of Rothesay announcing the overall winner of the Ian Shepherd award and due to Covid-19 restrictions, the process has had to be conducted completely virtually.
Normally the award ceremony is held in the autumn where the agents and homeowners are invited to celebrate the category winners, providing a networking evening with a keynote speaker, however this year this has been adapted to be an online showcase which still allows the agents and owners to be recognised for their winning schemes but also in a way that can be shared with the wider public.
From 75 entries, down to 27 finalists across six categories, as well as three student finalists, deciding the ultimate winners was no easy task.
The judging panel were impressed with the submissions which were of an extremely high standard, showcasing the highest quality of architecture and landscape design to be found in Aberdeenshire.
Paul Macari is the Head of Planning and Environment with Aberdeenshire Council, and leads the team running the awards.
He said: “Awards like these help the community realise that good design doesn’t need to be inaccessible and elite, it can be for everyone and plays an important role in establishing communities and creating a sense of place.
"The range of nominations and finalists was quite diverse, which allows us to reflect on the role of design in our heritage and in the future of Aberdeenshire.”
Provost of Aberdeenshire Bill Howatson said: “When we last celebrated the Aberdeenshire Architectural and Landscape Design Awards back in 2018, who among us could have foreseen the tragic circumstances which would unfold following the emergence of Covid-19 in March last year.
"We certainly didn’t anticipate that we would be celebrating these awards in the virtual world, however that has become somewhat of a new normal for families, friends and businesses.
“Now in our 12th year, the continuing range of innovative, imaginative and inspiring designs which we see entered into the awards never fails to impress, and I am very much looking forward to sharing our winning projects with you. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the judging panel, and indeed all those who have participated and contributed towards this scheme.”
AALDA is a scheme which looks to celebrate innovative and sustainable design principles, the creation of new communities, the sensitive adaptation of existing buildings and the imaginative use of materials in both residential and commercial developments.
A dedicated website which has been created to show the finalists can be found at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/designawards2020