Blairs Home Farm


Completion Date:


Building owner/client:

Blairs Home Farm

Architect or lead designer:

Harry Taylor and Company

Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

Moray Council

Project Description

Blairs Home Farm Steading was designed by Archibald Simpson, circa 1834 with some late 19th century alterations and additions. It is a picturesque Italianate group of detached farm steading buildings forming churchyard with Club House range at slightly lower level. All buildings are harled with considerable use of contrasting polished and tooled ashlar dressings and margins. The buildings are located approx. 2 miles from Forres and have been vacant for over 30 years.

Planning permission and listed building consent were granted for a new mixed use creative learning/art space and office development utilizing the Category A listed historic steading. Alterations were carefully considered and designed to minimise impact on the historic structures. The external appearance, historic interest and health of the buildings ultimately benefit from the proposed works.

Development centered on the restoration and part demolition of argircultural buildings to form mixed use commercial development. Large scale repair of historic fabric ensured that original windows, doors, roof, stonework and harling were retained where possible. Re-configuration and rationalisation of internal spaces to modernise building for use included adding new window and door openings, glazed screens infilling existing openings, new conservation type roof windows and new downpipes for areas lacking provision.

Supporting Statement

Extensive collaboration with the estate owner and architects throughout the planning process in the form of pre-application advice and guidance on design aspects of the proposal from Moray Council and Historic Environment Scotland has ensured that a successful and innovative end use for a large historic steading complex has been found.

Blairs Home Farm Steading on the Altyre Estate near Forres has been transformed into a world-class research and teaching space. This is an unparalleled opportunity for students to study within a newly renovated campus in spectacular surroundings. The buildings have been converted into a Glasgow School of Art (GSA) campus, providing inspiring studio, workshop and exhibition space as well as state of the art areas for research, teaching, prototyping and flexible lab work.

The GSA is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s leading university-level institutions for the visual and creative disciplines. The campus brings the GSA’s world-leading research and teaching to the Highlands and is one of the top 10 art schools in the world (QS World Subject Rankings 2015).

The development demonstrates that collaborative working can produce well considered high quality development within the historic environment and that this partnership approach can be successfully replicated on other projects.