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Breathing new life into old church

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AN ARBROATH architecture firm has won an award for its conversion of a disused church into a modern masterpiece of office design.

The Voigt Partnership Limited was presented with the award for ‘best public / commercial building’ by the Dundee Institute of Architects at the Invercarse Hotel on Thursday night.

The award recognised the design and build quality and level of innovation which went into the conversion of the B-listed Erskine Church into the Erskine House Business and Design Centre.

Architect Jonathan Reeve and his colleagues also entered Erskine House for ‘Best use of timber’ and ‘Best restoration’ and were delighted with the award.

He said: “We were very pleased and proud to receive the award.

“We submitted in a few categories but it was a nice surprise to get the best one, and we were up against a lot of really nice buildings.”

Work began in 2011 on the disused Gothic building which was originally built in 1851 and had lately fallen into disuse.

The work was carried out primarily by local contractors and in December 2011 The Voigt Partnership moved into its new home.

According to Jonathan, the contemporary redesign is a vast improvement. He said: “It’s good the judges recognised that, it’s a great office, really nice and bright, it’s a total change.

“Actually, one of the judges made a comment that as soon as they went in it was just ‘Wow’. I think that won them over.

“I would describe it as modern but sensitive as we kept a lot of the original features.

“We all love it here, it’s a much better space and a great place to work. It’s one of those projects where it’s very personal, it’s not designed for anyone else, it’s been designed and built for us.”

The Voigt Partnership hopes Erskine House will become a community space, with a mix of companies filling the other studios, the Webmors bar-restaurant already open and an as yet unused and potentially very versatile central space.

Jonathan said: “All the other offices are being let out, there are two taken already, and we’re hoping this central space is used for displays and informal art exhibitions in the future.

“At night we have it floodlit so people can see there’s something different going on here.”

For more information on the award winning project visit www.voigtpartnership.co.uk/project-gallery/historic-restoration/erskine-church-arbroath/

 

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