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Highland Council’s Multi-Award-Winning Hydro Ness Lands Another Prestigious Award 

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Highland Council’s multi-award-winning renewable energy installation, Hydro Ness, has scooped another national design award.  

Hydro Ness and designer Leslie Hutt Architect received a prestigious Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland award at a ceremony at the National Galleries of Scotland on 3 June 2024.  

Situated on the banks of the River Ness, directly adjacent to the Holm Mills bridge, the Archimedes screw project generates and supplies green electricity to the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre. 

Chair of Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans, said:

“It is fantastic to see Hydro Ness being recognised once again by yet another prestigious organisation.  

“It is a shining example of sustainability and innovation and was designed with sustainability in mind.

“Hydro Ness’s low carbon steel structure is a great example of how construction can help us meet the demands of the climate emergency and our move to achieve net zero emissions by 2025.”  

The Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) named Hydro Ness as one of eleven outstanding new buildings at the 2024 RIAS Awards.  

On its website RIAS said Hydro Ness:

“Reflects the shape and colours of a salmon, this highly sculptural building encloses the hydroelectric infrastructure that generates renewable energy to power the Inverness Leisure Centre.  

“Instead of a plain and functional shed, this new, local landmark celebrates green energy, provides opportunities to link with the local STEM curriculum, and embodies Highland Council’s bold and creative approach to achieving Net Zero.”   

The jury for the 2024 RIAS Awards were:  

• Nick Hayhurst (director, Hayhurst and Co)  

• Simon Branson (partner architect, Honey Architecture)  

• Catriona Hill (partner, Oberlanders Architects)  

• Daisy Narayanan MBE (public realm director, The Crown Estate)  

Nick Hayhurst, who chaired the 2024 RIAS Awards jury, said:

“This year’s RIAS Awards are about celebration.

“Celebration of the quality of each award-winning project as well as celebration of the range of architectural ideas being delivered in Scotland today.  

“From exemplary retrofits of loved institutions and homes to doing more with less to re-imagine community spaces, or public and private housing that anyone would want to live in, and innovative spaces that enable new ways of learning, working and promoting sustainability: there are no two projects alike.”  

He added:

“With more retrofits of existing buildings winning awards this year than new-builds, what does unite this year’s winners, however, is a clear approach to how energy and carbon reduction is enmeshed within a distinctively Scottish architectural language focussed on craft, materials and story-telling: projects that successfully synthesise the key issues facing building design today in a way that is joyfully rooted in its context and locality.”

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