Scotland’s best buildings: Edinburgh landmarks in the running for building of the century?

Scotland’s best buildings: Edinburgh landmarks in the running for building of the century?


As part of the 2016 Festival of Architecture, a celebration of Scotland’s most beautiful design feats, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) want to know which building you think is the greatest of the past century.

Here at Quartermile, we’re of course rooting for Edinburgh’s entrants – but there are some great buildings in the shortlist from across the nation.


Edinburgh’s offerings

Edinburgh is lucky enough to have two buildings on the shortlist of ten brilliant buildings designed in the past hundred years. The Scottish Parliament building is one of the youngest on offer, built just 12 years ago in 2004.

Over the last decade it has certainly become one of Edinburgh’s most iconic structures. The stylish and unique building at Holyrood has earned a number of architectural awards in that time, not to mention the many shortlistings it has received. The Scotstyle Best Building Award from the RIAS could be another one for the trophy cabinet.

Also making the shortlist is the extension to the National Museum of Scotland, which was built in 1998. The National Museum of Scotland was formed in 2006 with the merger of the Museum of Scotland (housed in the shortlisted building) and the Royal Museum, both of which stand proudly on the same site. The museum houses antiquities from across the globe, and covers areas such as culture, archaeology, art, national history, science and technology.

While Edinburgh’s finest are certainly in with a shout for this prestigious award, here are a few other contenders from across Scotland.     


Elsewhere in Scotland

The only building younger than the Scottish Parliament building on this year’s shortlist is the Pier Arts Centre. This building on Orkney was built by the Stromness Waterfront in 2007, and houses a beautiful art gallery and museum. Comprised mostly of dark metal and glass, the building is held in high regard, partly because it allows natural light to flood in through the windows each day before becoming a beacon of glowing light itself at night.

On the other end of the age spectrum is St Conan’s Kirk, opened in 1930 after more than 40 years of building work.  The church was a project spearheaded by amateur architect Walter Douglas Campbell and his sister Helena. In fact, Campbell devoted the latter part of his life to building the church, and the fruit of his labours is very impressive indeed.

The India Tyre and Rubber Factory and the Rothesay Pavilion, both opened in the 1930s, are two particularly stylised contenders. The former, also known as the India of Inchinnan office thanks to its calligraphic signage, is an eye-catching example of Art Deco style. It once had a much more ornate counterpart, the Firestone Tyre Factory in London, which was the inspiration for its design. Now that the Firestone building is demolished, the RIAS note that the survival of the Inchinnan building is of great importance.

The Rothesay Pavilion, on the Isle of Bute, is equally stylish and was the winner of a design competition held in 1936. Opened in 1938, the Pavilion “introduced continental glamour to Rothesay”, presenting holidaymakers with the likes of a dancehall, auditorium and open air terrace.

A slightly more eclectic choice is Hermit’s Castle, by Loch Inver, Sutherland. Some claim that Hermit’s Castle is the smallest in the world, as it contains just one room and is considered to be suitable for housing only one person. The castle is made from concrete, crafted in a way that makes it appear to grow out of the rocky crags on which it was built.

Other architectural designs to make the shortlist include Glasgow’s iconic Princes Square, a shopping centre first designed in the 1800s but further developed in the 1980s; Dundee’s Contemporary Arts Centre; and Nicoll Russell Studios.

Results will be announced at the finale of the Festival of Architecture, held on 18th November 2016.


If you are looking for a new home that’s just that little bit more eye-catching, why not make the move to Quartermile. Arrange a viewing today on 0845 000 2525.

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