The judges' decision was unanimous, with their citation reading: "The building is set unobtrusively into its setting, a massive grassed roof creating a new hillside within the landscape.
“Its great triumph is the unique and ingenious way it integrates a very substantial medical facility within the parkland setting of the Garscube estate. This is a highly complex work of architecture which sets new standards in the design of buildings for veterinary medicine."
Russell Baxter, Director in Archial’s Glasgow studio said: “One of our chief concerns when conceiving the design for this facility was how to create a large hospital building without ruining the beautiful green space for which the Garscube Estate is renowned. Essentially, our solution involved lifting up the ground, peeling off the grass and placing the new building underneath.
“Since various aspects of the new facility did not require natural light – much of its 4500 sq m involves internal spaces such as the treatment area, oncology and diagnostics – this design solution was able to meet the needs of the hospital whilst maintaining the integrity of the location. In order to let daylight in to public areas, an innovative ‘crystal’ glass cupola, lit with different colours at night, sits within the building’s sloping grass roof.
“The natural look of the new Small Animal Hospital is completed with a stone-filled gabion baskets, lending the building a deliberately solid and heavy base, emphasising the driving idea of roof and ground”.