The future of Queen Margaret University College (QMUC) was in the balance this week as Scottish Ministers considered whether to call in plans for the £50m campus on the outskirts of Musselburgh, East Lothian. Water and sewerage problems have not helped the college. A decision by the politicians to review outline planning permission issued for QMUC by East Lothian Council in May 2004 would almost certainly lead to a public inquiry.
'Architects named for Scotland's first University campus of the 21st century'
QMUC Edinburgh - PR: Jan 2004
Architectural practice Dyer Associates has won an architectural competition to design QMUC's new campus - Scotland's first University campus of the 21st century it was announced today. Queen Margaret University College (QMUC) launched an international competition, managed by The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, to find an architect for its new East Lothian campus in September last year. Dyer Associates' winning proposal to carry out the detailed design work for the first phase of the QMUC project which includes new academic buildings and infrastructure was chosen from over 30 entries from architectural practices from the UK and Europe.
QMUC: internal street by Dyer Associates
Subject to obtaining planning permission, the new campus will be built on a site at Craighall - an area of 35 acres in East Lothian, adjacent to Musselburgh - and will include student residences and sports facilities as well as faculty buildings.
QMUC principal Professor Anthony Cohen said;
'We asked the shortlisted firms for design ideas for the Learning Resource Centre which will be situated at the main entrance to the campus as a symbol of our vision for the future of higher education in Scotland. Entries were judged on aesthetics, sustainability, track record and best value. The proposals we received were all inspirational but Dyer Associates' vision was the most innovative interpretation of the brief.'
courtyard image from Dyer
Dyer Associates is recognised as one of the UK's leading design practices with experience in the education sector. The winning proposals for the new Craighall site focus on the Learning Resource Centre as a vibrant and dynamic space at the heart of the campus. An internal atrium and open-plan street with views out to other buildings and to the landscaped parkland will become the QMUC social hub, promoting a sense of shared learning and collective endeavour.
Philip Ball, a design director aat Dyer Associates, said:
'Dyer Associates is extremely excited to have been selected for this prestigious project. We believe it represents a fantastic opportunity to create a landmark development for QMUC, which will capitalise upon its unique setting and provide a people-focused learning environment for the 21st century.'
QMUC vice principal Rosalyn Marshall, who is heading up the relocation project, said;
'I am very impressed with the standard of the winning proposals and look forward to working with the team at Dyer Associates to deliver a campus worthy of a dynamic institution and of the location we have chosen. The Learning Resource Centre, which was the focus of the design competition, is an intrinsic part of our commitment to be accessible to the local community. Dyer Associates have proposed a building which will be a focal point for everyone using the campus for years to come. The practice has demonstrated considerable expertise in the UK education sector and their design approach for our academic village are in keeping with our aim to provide a safe, friendly and sustainable environment to live, learn, work and relax.'