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Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland, United Kingdom

Monday 20 Oct 2008

Wood Awards highlight Scottish wonder

Shetland Museum and Archives by BDP in Shetland, United Kingdom
Copyright BDP 
Shetland Museum and Archives by BDP in Shetland, United Kingdom Shetland Museum and Archives by BDP in Shetland, United Kingdom
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BDP's Shetland Museum wins top prize at Wood Awards 

Shetland Museum and Archives, designed by BDP, has won the Gold Award in this year’s Wood Awards. The project was shortlisted in three categories, and won the Commercial and Public Access category, eventually going on to win the top prize at the award ceremony in London on the 15 October 2008. The awards aim to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation in wood, the worlds most naturally sustainable material.

Architect Angus Kerr said of receiving the award “We are extremely proud to have won the top award against such fantastic competition, there are a lot of good buildings using wood. BDP champion the use of wood in their projects as a sustainable alternative to many modern materials and Shetland Museum is a fine example of its use in an innovative and successful way.”

The museum represents an important new cultural hub as well as a major new visitor attraction and landmark for these fascinating islands. The new 3,500 m² building, which utilises old boatsheds, has five times the previous Museum display space and three times the previous archive storage area. Facilities include the café restaurant, an Archives repository and search room, gift shop boat restoration sheds, an auditorium seating 120, a learning room and a temporary exhibition space and administration, curatorial and conservation spaces.

Externally the building form is largely derived from traditional early Shetland buildings - Lodberries, whose gable ends rise from the sea - and is constructed of traditional materials of harled masonry walls, timber windows and slate pitched roofs.

Contrasting with these traditional forms, the building’ presence is punctuated by the iconic timber clad Boat Hall. Conceived as four large polygonal shapes, separated by narrow vertical glazed strips, their colour and form echo the sails of the Herring drifters which wintered in and around Hays Dock in the last century.

The Shetland Museum was chosen as a best practice example by the Scottish Executive in its strategy for architecture. It has won the Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award and was shortlisted for both a British Construction Industry Award and the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award this year. It also reached a shortlist of the final four for The Art Fund prize (Formerly The Gulbenkian Prize) one of the most prestigious awards open to all museums and galleries in the UK, and is shortlisted in the world architecture festival awards due to be announced later this month in Barcelona.

BDP was lead consultant, architect, landscape architect, interior designer and acoustic consultant for the £11.6m building, which opened in June 2007.

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