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Scenic Routes second round winners revealed

July 8 2014

Scenic Routes second round winners revealed
Two winning designs have been chosen by Scottish Canals in a £500k competition which originally asked for four new architectural interventions at Cairngorms National Park and the Caledonian Canal.

John Kennedy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners emerged victorious with his bid to create a viewpoint on the A939 Cock Bridge to Tomintoul Road, at a spot overlooking the 16th century Corgarff Castle and Ben Avon in the heart of the Cairngorms.

Sean Douglas (Sutherland Hussey) and Gavin Murray (Elder & Cannon) meanwhile were selected to build a timber viewpoint at Laggan, on the shores of Loch Lochy, part of the Caledonian Canal.

Work on both schemes will now get underway for completion by the end of the year.

Two other schemes; the Devil’s Elbow at Glen Shee and Banavie, emerged with no overall winner however. Accounting for this discrepancy Scottish Canals said that both plots, “… did not attract sufficient quality in the entries to allow them to be taken forward for shortlisting.”

The body confirmed that each would be taken forward at a ‘later stage’.
Melissa Lawson and Ross Aitchison earned a highly commended award for this 'Forest-Loch-Reflection' at Laggan
Melissa Lawson and Ross Aitchison earned a highly commended award for this 'Forest-Loch-Reflection' at Laggan
Ruairidh C. Moir (BARD) gained a highly commended award for Na Crìochan 'Threshold of Territory', runner-up at Corgarff
Ruairidh C. Moir (BARD) gained a highly commended award for Na Crìochan 'Threshold of Territory', runner-up at Corgarff

This timber viewpoint at Laggan impressed the judges by harnessing the facilities building to draw attention to the view
This timber viewpoint at Laggan impressed the judges by harnessing the facilities building to draw attention to the view


boaby wan
#1 Posted by boaby wan on 8 Jul 2014 at 13:23 PM
makes you wonder if they ever had the money to do four sites…
another example of why people shouldn't waste time, money and energy with competitions
#2 Posted by Sturluson on 8 Jul 2014 at 15:15 PM
Total disgrace, certainly wont be wasting my time entering this again! I strongly suspect this is more to do with money - the £50k allocated for each site was a pathetic amount given than £500k was allocated for this round. I guess the funds for the two mothballed sites were "reallocated".

If the first round is anything to go by, the competition organisers really need to buck up and stop wasting peoples time and money.

Congratulations to the winners though, well done, looks great!
#3 Posted by Matthew on 8 Jul 2014 at 20:44 PM
I agree with Sturluson, an absolute disgrace! won't be encouraging my students to enter this joke of a competition.
#4 Posted by emma on 9 Jul 2014 at 09:29 AM
Outraged? Each of the shortlisted teams received a £1000 honorarium and the competition was free to enter (first stage was a digital submission so no printing costs), also all the shortlisted teams will be given publicity through an exhibition and publication. It's disappointing that 2 sites won't go forward but hardly a waste of time for young designers when opportunities like this are few and far between.
boaby wan
#5 Posted by boaby wan on 9 Jul 2014 at 09:40 AM
emma… you do realise that they didn't shortlist anyone for half of the proposed projects here, so saved themselves any costs on those sites, and no publicity for them either!!
it's the fact that people think these are great opportunities and can't see past a bit of publicity that allows them to continue on like this - I'm willing to bet also that the schemes are either:
A) never constructed
B) completely different after pricing
Mr Disgruntled
#6 Posted by Mr Disgruntled on 9 Jul 2014 at 09:57 AM
Why didn’t they at least shortlist a few entries from the other sites and work closer with them during Stage 2? Even if they didn’t end up picking a winner then at least the entrants of the two cancelled sites would have gotten the opportunity to participate in the process and develop their skills - which I though was one of the reasons the funding was granted for in the first place?!
#7 Posted by Sturluson on 9 Jul 2014 at 11:31 AM
Emma, its more annoyance at the lack of respect shown towards those that invested time in entering by only proceeding with 2 out of the four projects. Many people, myself included, put in time and effort out with our normal working hours (evening and weekends) or asked favours of engineers, QS's etc in order to compile submissions. Its annoying that the organisers couldn't find some way to progress at least a couple of the proposals.

This was meant to be about encouraging young designers to get involved, as people have mentioned above. If those people same people then see their efforts dismissed so easily then I doubt they will be bothered to enter future competitions. I find it hard to imagine that there was a lack of strong ideas, even if they were rough around the edges, and I am sure they could have been honed.
#8 Posted by emma on 9 Jul 2014 at 12:36 PM
No I didn't realise none of the designs had been shortlisted, that is very frustrating and as someone who entered a scheme for one of the sites that hasn't been taken forward I appreciate the amount of work that the first stage required and hope that the organisers will at least make efforts to ensure that all the entires are exhibited in some way.

What's also disappointing is that this issue has created such a distraction from the two winning schemes which are both excellent. Going off the first round I would be very surprised if the laggan and corgarff designs aren't well delivered.
#9 Posted by Anon on 9 Jul 2014 at 18:22 PM
Being a whinge or trying to see the opportunity in these situations is irrelevant.

Two schemes were short-listed for two sites of four sites. Fine.

Maybe the entries for the other two sites were just crap?

Quality over quantity every time. Perhaps if more procurement in Scotland had the same level of quality control....blah blah usual rant...
#10 Posted by Jamie on 9 Jul 2014 at 23:31 PM
Great responses from those selected, this showcases young Scottish designers talent.
Lee Ivett
#11 Posted by Lee Ivett on 10 Jul 2014 at 00:54 AM
Do better work, get shortlisted. I applaud any attempt that gives young designers and architects the opportunity to get an interesting commission through creativity, merit and competition.

The private and a big chunk of the public sector isn't providing opportunities for young architects/designer to create interesting work independent of big practices and I find the opportunities offered by the scenic routes initiative to be far more appealing than most.

I hear people moaning a lot about competitions forcing people to work for nothing but I'd rather work for nothing to develop a proposal I am truly proud of, based entirely on the needs of an end user/place that will be judged fairly and squarely against my pees than do spec work for some arse piece developer in the hope of picking up some real work further down the line.

Most architects do work up front for free at some time for some reason. It's called investment. I wouldn't cry about it
boaby wan
#12 Posted by boaby wan on 10 Jul 2014 at 09:30 AM
Lee, if you want to work for nothing, why bother waiting for these competitions to come along at all?!
The creative part of the process is the one part where the skill of the architect is unique, the rest of the process in delivering a building is slowly being taken over by different job titles, so why should anyone be happy to give this bit away for free?
All it does is show that architects are happy to put hours and hours into thought and design development for absolutely nothing other than vanity.
Mr Disgruntled
#13 Posted by Mr Disgruntled on 10 Jul 2014 at 09:55 AM
It’s rather naive and insulting to think that there was no shortlist because of a lack of quality entries, especially as the cancelled sites received just as many submissions and more people than before entered this round.

I would suggest its quite obvious that they completely miscalculated the budget for each site (£75/50K) and decided to pull funding from two to fund the other two. If this were true, then it is very unfair to the people who entered the two cancelled sites, good or bad they may be, because poor budget control on part of the organiser meant these people ‘investing’ their time were never going to have a chance.
#14 Posted by Ruairidh on 10 Jul 2014 at 13:48 PM
More details of the Corgarff runner up proposal can be found at the following link:
Ian Nairn Jr
#15 Posted by Ian Nairn Jr on 10 Jul 2014 at 19:05 PM
Agree with #9, #11 & #12. Nobody's forcing designers to enter, so whether its vanity or they just consider it an acceptable loss leader, it's their choice. The process can still be a useful learning experience for a variety of reasons.

Designers should not get paid just because they put in some hours and worked hard - if the end result isn't up to scratch then it shouldn't be accepted. Not having to pay for initial submissions, while contentious, does mean the client can say no, instead of continuing down a bad road because they've spent money on fees and began a working relationship. And we've all seen projects where the client really should have called a halt to things instead of actually building the thing.

There are good and bad designers out there - let's not reward the bad. Talent will always rise to the top, even if they do have to start with porch extensions.
#16 Posted by N63591 on 11 Jul 2014 at 15:21 PM
The entry requirements for this competition and the one previously were 1 A1 pdf sheet - electronically submitted and a short supporting statement. No entry fee, no printing or other production fees. If you were shortlisted you got sizable honouraium to work up your scheme that would more than cover any outlays (and plenty left over). As per the last competition all shortlisted schemes were exhibited and published...This competition really is an examplar of how they should be done and the gripes on this page and on BDonline are just sour grapes at not getting shortlisted and should be ignored.

I had fun entering a scheme for both this and the previous competition, i didnt get shortlisted but I'm not discouraged and would happily enter again. I know some of the shortlisted and winners from last time and they have nothing but positive things to say about the whole process. We should all applaud it.
boaby wan
#17 Posted by boaby wan on 12 Jul 2014 at 10:48 AM
N63591, fyi I have not entered this, or any other competition - I prefer to get paid for my work.
Printing costs are insignificant, how many hours do you think people have put into this to gift away their creativity, only to be told there wasn't enough quality in the entries to shortlist anyone - I would say it's obvious that there isn't the budget to deliver all four at the moment, so why didn't they just run one or two competitions that they could afford.
I would be very interested to see the quality of entries for all the sites...

Working for free is never a good strategy - if you value your skills so low, so will everyone else
#18 Posted by AS-D8 on 14 Jul 2014 at 19:40 PM
Boaby Wan: firstly - making a pitch for a job is a fact of life for any and all professions and making a decent pitch takes a lot of unpaid time. Sitting on one's ar5e waiting for people to rain work on you because of your hidden talent is the path to an empty back catalogue and an empty bank balance...operating by your rationale even getting out and pressing the flesh would constitute "time" and "work" you're not getting paid for....
Secondly - your IPR is protected with entry - no one can build without you being compensated - you're not "giving" anything away on entering.

You seem to have a serious difficulty accepting that just because people enter a competition they don't automatically have the right to be short listed. If the standard of the entries wasn't good enough I fully believe that - it's in the organisers interest to display as many entries as possible - to show there is interest in the process. If you want to bury a scheme due to lack of budget the time to do it is categorically not when you have put your head above the media parapet to announce winners; the best time to do it is 3 months later when you can cite any number of nebulous reasons for abandonment. Your conspiracy theories are indicative of someone who doesn't understand how public sector organisations work.

I think you'll find the blame may lie with the scope of eligibility and the wording of the brief...more people eligible would mean more high quality entries....

One last thought: it's a publicly funded organisation running the competition so if you feel so very strongly that the entries were cruelly maligned then send them an FoI and decide for yourself.

We'll await your considered response to the quality of the entries!
boaby wan
#19 Posted by boaby wan on 15 Jul 2014 at 11:04 AM
Firstly, making a pitch for a job is a lot different to entering a speculative competition involving a lot of time/effot on the design aspect - I have pitched for many jobs, usually they involve meeting clients and showing previous work rather than producing a scheme to be judged…
This is completely different to giving design away for free!
If you want to show off your design skills, why not pick sites at random and make proposals for them - and then publish them on your own website, it's effectively the same thing.

I fail to see how running four competitions and only taking forward two is a positive thing for those involved...

I also fail to see, how a competition like this would have great entries for two of the sites, allowing 9 shortlisted entries for two sites but 0 for the other two - nothing suspicious there at all… Was there really such a gap in quality?
sorry, not buying that - it's an obvious cost cutting exercise and the only people to lose out are the poor buggers that wasted time and effort submitting entries for those sites.

#20 Posted by AS-D8 on 15 Jul 2014 at 13:41 PM
“This is completely different to giving design away for free! “
Oh dear..Oh dear - IPR? - in case you are unsure as to what my IPR comment means its "Intellectual Property Rights" and you are obviously someone who knows less than nothing about how design competitions work and what these three little letters mean...common across the entire creative world and protected by endless piles of case law.
Another popular acronym you are obviously having difficulty with is FoI - Freedom of Information...a fairly well know act of parliament. Send the competition organisers a Freedom of Information request - assess the entries for yourself and then come back to comment.
Spraying random, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories is more than a little immature.
boaby wan
#21 Posted by boaby wan on 15 Jul 2014 at 14:45 PM
Haha, I do like being called immature by someone who thinks spelling out acronyms is a good way to show their intellect!
Perhaps those running the competition could publish all the entries received then at least the entrants would get something back...
I'm surprised anyone would buy the line they are spinning here, its beyond comprension that half of the sites would have got so many strong entries allowing nine to be shortlisted whilst the other two couldn't manage one between them, but I guess I'm just too immature to blindly swallow that mince!
#22 Posted by Andy on 16 Jul 2014 at 20:52 PM
I agree with Boaby, especially as there are a couple of clauses in the competition T&C's that give them media rights for all entries and a licence to build all shortlisted entries.

In the interests of discussion, I've linked my entry to one of the 'cancelled' sites below. It's far from perfect (and welcome any feedback) and I only post this here because I think there is a worth while point being discussed in the the above comments which may be in danger of being lost. However, it does make for some fun reading!
#23 Posted by Stephen on 17 Jul 2014 at 23:44 PM
I'm glad the organisers have finally realised that quality matters. The competition shouldn't be restricted to only young architects and part 2s. The built environment is too important for that. Sadly the built schemes are not really up to scratch and the fact that two previous winners were shortlisted again shows the poor strength in depth of the Scottish profession. The argument that the scheme is helping young people in need of a leg-up isn't borne out either by restricting entries to only them (presumably if they're that good they'd also win in open competition) or by the fact that the winners have all got good jobs already (fosters etc). If you weren't shortlisted, who cares whether the scheme was dropped or not, you gave your work away with no expectation if reward.
#24 Posted by David on 31 Aug 2015 at 23:00 PM
Mr Kennedy, was this a 'precedent' by any chance?

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