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198th Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition: RSA Architecture Prize

22.05.2024

GRAS has been awarded the RSA Architecture Prize for the best work by an architect in the Annual Exhibition earlier this month. Exhibited at RSA, Preston Tower is a Scheduled Monument consisting of a partially ruined Tower House, Doocot and Garden nestling in the heart of the town of Prestonpans in East Lothian. The improvement project  has been developed by East Lothian Council, the National Trust for Scotland and Prestonpans Community Council and has been funded by the Scottish and UK Government, the National Trust for Scotland and others.

A set of acupunctural moves were formed to make sense of the site and improve the flow of the visitor experience, whilst protecting the future of the built fabric and landscape. The works have included repairs to the Tower, Doocot and Garden walls, along with new interventions such as access paths, interpretation, and a new stair which will provide public access to the interior of the Tower, which has not been possible for decades.

Responding to the attentively formulated theme of Critical Action by this year’s RSA Deputy Convenor, Jude Barber, the GRAS display provides glimpses into the site’s rich history. It skilfully unveils various interpretative layers through art and architecture, contributing to our growing, collective understanding of the monument’s significance.

Through its transient aesthetic, the display carefully emphasises the raw materials and the influence of time in the project. This focus on materiality and natural ageing draws attention to the knowledge and craftsmanship involved in often invisible heritage and conservation processes. The display offers a journey that highlights the historical narrative, architectural nuances, and cultural resonance of the monument.

The project, part of 198th Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition, is on show until 16th of June.
Mon to Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 12 – 5pm.

GRAS Project team: Charlie Porter, John Robson, Natasha Huq, Stewart Stirling
Photography: Murray Orr, Natasha Huq, John Robson
Exhibition Joinery: Daniel Brophy, Studio Brophy
Exhibition photography: Paula Szturc