Hello and welcome to the RIAS Showcase which celebrates the eighteen shortlisted projects for the 2020 RIAS Awards.

Over the last nine years the RIAS Awards have demonstrated the quality and breadth of architecture in Scotland. They celebrate ‘Inspiring Design’ combined with encouraging and promoting innovation. Crucially, while they have reflected both societal and environmental changes, the postponement of RIAS 2020 Awards is emblematic of a wider crisis. 

This showcase is a mark in time, reflecting our current global circumstances. 

The pandemic has highlighted both the vulnerability of the construction industry alongside the importance of our built environment. It is a difficult economic time together with a period of opportunity; a chance for architecture to redefine itself. 

Prior to the pandemic whilst reflecting on this year’s submissions, Chair of the RIAS Awards judging panel Jenny Jones said:

 Given that these projects would have been commissioned at the very least, several years ago, there are some very strong carbon-conscious submissions which demonstrate an attention to the challenges we all face. The greater shift will become evident in the next years if we continue to challenge and create innovative responses as to how we can “build” with environmental consciousness. 

I wonder therefore where we will be in five years’ time… however for now we hope you enjoy the showcase and that it offers a moment of escapism and immersion in the beauty of Scottish Architecture today. 

I leave you with this reflection from Judge Tony Chapman Hon FRIBA:

 In March we met as a jury at Rutland Square to consider the 80 entries for the 2020 RIAS Awards. Spring sunshine flooded into the garden room and we were full anticipation. It looked like a good crop: architectural diversity in terms of geography and purpose, scale of project and practice. It was clear many of these architects were well ahead of the game, anticipating years ago when these buildings were commissioned, that sustainability would by now be at the top of the architectural agenda. 

We all had a list of criteria on paper and in our heads but they’re not a checklist. There are three big ones for me: the capacity to delight, the degree of difficulty and the architectural ambition. The Scottish Parliament scored highly on all three when I judged that one. Today perhaps we weren’t aiming that high, but we were looking to be delighted and we were. 

Exhausted and exhilarated by the end of the day we had our shortlist of 18 and we were planning our journeys. Then COVID came and ripped out the last half of the book we were so enjoying. Still, with luck, we’ll get to know the ending next year. 

Christina Gaiger, PRIAS

The RIAS 2020 Shortlist