Student design brings elderly back into the community

A Balmerino local has won a prestigious award in recognition of his achievement in the fifth year of his Architecture degree.  

Scott DoigScott Doig, from Amberlea, Kirkton of Balmerino, received the ‘Inverness Architectural Award’ at the opening ceremony of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment End of Year Show 2011.

The Show, which launched on Wednesday 15 June with a private opening and prize-giving ceremony, exhibits a range of student designs, sketches and intricate models, spanning architecture, surveying, architectural technology and construction design and management disciplines.

Scott (23) was selected for his prize in recognition of his innovative design of an elderly community facility set in the Aberdeen Harbour area.  The main project brief was to create the elderly home, with an integrated kitchen garden, on a site that is currently a warehouse unit on Castlehill Terrace.

Scott took a different approach to his project. Unlike his colleagues, he designed a facility that was for mixed use – for people of all ages. A section of this development was dedicated to the elderly but, as a key aim of Scott’s design was to integrate the elderly into the community, it also featured properties for younger people including families.

A challenge he experienced in producing this design was to create communal areas for all inhabitants to come together, while making sure to fulfil the needs of each demographic. He also found it difficult to ensure consistency of design when functionality of purpose was so different for each group.

He said: “My design was inspired by my belief that the elderly are becoming increasingly segregated from society. Unlike in traditional communities, where families looked after their own senior generations, we have developed to a point where the needs of the elderly are often lead them to becoming isolated in sheltered housing developments and almost prison-like care facilities.

“While I found out during the course of my project that a level of segregation is necessary to make sure the needs of both young and old inhabitants of are met, I found that were a number of opportunities to find ways to reintegrate the generations.”  

Commenting on his accolade, he said: “It’s a real honour to have been selected for the award. I thoroughly enjoy my studies and the award goes a long to way to making all the hard work and effort worth it.”

Scott will now undertake a summer internship within Gray’s School of Art with lecturer Andrew Cranston who currently devising an exhibition about an old building his family lived in many years ago. The building is now demolished with very little information of it remaining, and so Scott has been hired to conduct research into how the building would have looked, and then create a series of physical models to accompany Andrew’s paintings.

David Vila Domini, a lecturer within the Architecture department, was one of Scott’s tutors on the projects. He said: “Scott’s award is thoroughly deserved. His work showed an innovative and detailed response to the brief that addresses the social as well as physical needs of the building’s inhabitants. I would like to congratulate him on behalf of the School and wish him all the best for his summer internship.”

Head of School, Dr David McClean commented:
“I would like to congratulate Scott and all winners at this year’s ceremony. The End of Year Show is an important celebration of the work of the School, and amply displays the commitment, imagination and dedication of our students and staff.

Taking place at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment on Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, the End of Year Show is open to the public until Thursday 30 June inclusive, Monday to Saturday 9.00am – 6.00pm and Sunday 11.00-5.00pm. For more information, visit:


Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389