SCN - A national competition has been launched for designers to develop a new architectural vision for Dumfries town centre.

The Midsteeple Quarter Ideas Competition, produced in partnership between the community-led Stove Network with the Glasgow Institute of Architects, invites architectural concepts for the Midsteeple Quarter of Dumfries High Street from professional individuals and practices to envisage an innovative new approach to town centre living and being.

The goal of the Midsteeple Quarter project is to see the high street re-energised and repopulated, contributing inclusively to the local community and economy.

The Midsteeple block is currently privately owned, however the Stove Network is in discussions about an asset transfer of 137-139 High Street, known locally as The Bakers Oven.

Funded though Scottish Government’s ‘Activating Ideas’ programme, the competition is looking for innovative yet practical solutions with regards to the building fabric of the Bakers Oven, a conscious solution to a sustainable energy strategy with a people-centred focus and a vision for the Quarter.

Launching the competition, housing minister Kevin Stewart said the plans could become a template for other parts of the country.

Mr Stewart said there were “interesting things” going on across the country and ideas like those being used in Dumfries could be extended elsewhere.

“I have been really impressed with their vision for Dumfries and what they are doing is a really good example of community-led regeneration which I am very, very keen to encourage,” he said.

“I would urge all of the agencies in Dumfries and Galloway – including the council here – to get behind this community-led regeneration to make their vision a reality for Dumfries town centre.”

He said it was an example of different approaches being tried across Scotland.

“Town centres are changing – we have a situation where a lot more shopping is being done online nowadays,” he said.

“So we need to think differently in town centres, and that is why it is important that we have organisations like the Stove Network who are thinking differently.

“They have got a great vision which hopefully will see major differences to Dumfries town centre – it may become a template for other places.”

Prizes will be awarded for the top three designs in the competition and their work will be exhibited in Dumfries and Glasgow during the summer.

An Open Day for interested entrants will be held on April 22 in Dumfries. Participating architects will be given a tour of the area, meet key team members and hear about The Stove Network. To reserve places at the Open Day, please book a ticket on the Eventbrite page.

For full details and how to enter, please visit the GIA website here.

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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