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While some historic buildings achieve recognition from leading figures in architecture for being preserved in their centuries-old guise, others have received a nod for making the successful transition from old to new.

The new Wasps Studios complex, based in Glasgow’s culture quarter, is one such building and its impressive transformation from a neglected Edwardian tenement block to hip colony of artist’s studios has earned it the accolade of Scottish Building of the Year.

The £3.5 million project to breathe life into the unloved building, which may have included work such as sash windows restoration, was praised by the judges for making a seamless leap from “unloved” building into a hub for “invention, innovation and creativity.”

Originally a textiles warehouse the building is now home to a 50,000 sq ft studio complex, providing a base for social enterprises, creative enterprises and more, and its move from blight to ‘must-see sight’ was hailed by Neil Baxter, secretary and treasurer of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), which runs the competition. He said:

“This used to a bit of an unloved corner of the Merchant City, it was pretty down-at-heel, to be honest, and the building was in a semi-derelict condition. Most of it had been lying empty for years. It’s now absolutely buzzing with activity.

“This is a great example of how a neglected and unused building can be refurbished and brought back into use, rather than just knocked down.”

David Cook, chief executive of Wasps Studios added: “South Block is now 100 per cent occupied, a great achievement in this economic climate, and we have received fantastic feedback from the creative community.

“The new venue is also making a huge contribution to the regeneration of the Merchant City.”

As the winner of the Andrew Doolan Prize, the project will receive an impressive sum of £25,000, as well as taking pride of place in Glasgow’s architectural landscape.

Which examples of UK architecture do you feel deserve recognition? Are you in favour of restoring or regenerating historic buildings?

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