Tayside and Central Scotland

Dundee architects win Kelpie Heads design contest

Kelpie Heads
Image caption The architects will also design the space inside the Kelpie Heads

A Dundee-based firm of architects has won a contest to design the visitor centre at the £43m Helix project near Falkirk.

Nicoll Russell Studios beat global competition to secure the £1m contract.

The company will also create the public space inside the 30m (98ft) high Kelpie Heads, designed by sculptor Andy Scott.

The Helix project, which was approved in 2009, is aiming to transform 300 hectares of unused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth.

It is being co-ordinated by Falkirk Council, British Waterways and the Central Scotland Forest Trust.

Nicoll Russell Studios, which has its head office in Broughty Ferry, was chosen by a panel of four judges from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Brian Moore, director of RIAS Consultancy, said: "The calibre and level of response to the competition was overwhelming and myself and the other judges had a tough time trying to shortlist five, let alone decide on a winner.

"Ultimately, we were looking for a practice whose designs best met the objectives of the wider project and which would deliver an architecturally outstanding but realistic proposal within the given budget."

Work on the Helix project, which also includes a canal extension, pathways and cycle networks, began in February 2011.

Andy Baxter, a partner at Nicoll Russell Studios, said: "Winning this design competition against an international field is a superb accolade and we are delighted with the outcome."

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