Historic Environment Scotland has unveiled The Engine Shed, an £11million national building conservation centre.
The new centre links with Historic Environment Scotland’s masonry training centres in Elgin and Forth Valley College and the applied conservation unit at South Gyle, Edinburgh.
Based at Forthside Way in Stirling, The Engine Shed seeks to ensure knowledge, skills and materials are available to look after the important cultural and economic asset that is Scotland’s 450,000 traditional buildings.
The new learning and visitor resource was officially opened by Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs. It is a conservation hub, bringing Scotland’s built heritage to life through technology and hands-on activities.
With sustainability at the heart of the building’s conversion, the former MOD munitions store has been respectfully adapted, retaining much of the original fabric and character of the building while demonstrating how traditional materials can be used in a modern context in two extensions, also incorporating modern technologies to enhance its energy efficiency.
The centrepiece of the main space is a large-scale map of Scotland compiled from hi-resolution satellite images, from which visitors can access additional information using an iPad as an augmented reality device. With interactive exhibits, a 4K 3D auditorium and augmented reality experiences, The Engine Shed aims to spark the public’s passion and interest with Scotland’s historic environment and inspire every generation to be interested in traditional buildings.
The Engine Shed opened on 26 June and is now home to Historic Environment Scotland’s building conservation research and education facility, which will share its world class expertise with national and international partners in building conservation.
People across Scotland are being invited to visit The Engine Shed as it unveils a summer programme of events designed to encourage a greater understanding of Scotland’s historic buildings and traditional craft skills as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. Workshops will include creating pieces inspired by Mackintosh designs currently on temporary display at The Engine Shed. They were recovered from the fire at The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building in 2014.
Chair of Historic Environment Scotland is Jane Ryder. Speaking at the opening of The Engine Shed on 26 June, she said: “Today’s opening marks a significant milestone in the journey of Historic Environment Scotland. And The Engine Shed is a visible demonstration of our commitment to both leading and supporting the vital heritage economy.
“It is the result of great collaboration and partnership working and thanks must go to the Scottish Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund and the Historic Scotland Foundation, who have supported us in delivering this unique facility. In particular, thanks must go to our partners at Stirling Council for providing us with the building, which I hope will play a key role in continuing to maximise the potential of heritage-led regeneration through their broader city deal.
"This world-class facility is a wonderful living classroom with science and technology at its core, demonstrating that innovation can be inspired by the past. The Engine Shed is about thinking differently and challenging perceptions, which will act as a catalyst and a beacon for the historic environment.”
Fiona Hyslop officially opened the new facility, saying: “The new Engine Shed will couple state-of-the-art technology and world-leading innovation with our historic building traditions, inspiring a new generation to learn the traditional skills and use the authentic materials that will help to keep Scotland’s history alive.
“The Scottish Government has proudly supported this ambitious project since its very beginning, underlining the importance we place on protecting, preserving and promoting our rich history, heritage and built environment.
"I am particularly pleased to open The Engine Shed during Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The centre will help to provide a lasting legacy for the year, increasing knowledge and understanding of the values of our precious historic environment.”
The Engine Shed opened its doors to the public today (3 July) and from now on is open daily, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Entry is free. The building can also be hired as a conference space, with room for up to 200 delegates.
About The Engine Shed
- At the very forefront of conservation, The Engine Shed provides a central hub to engage the next generation with our historic environment and the value of protecting and preserving it, while helping to ensure a safe and sustainable future for our rich built heritage.
- It is a test lab for developing activities and resources that can then be rolled out for use across the country, helping to support and enable the work of partners across a range of sectors spanning heritage, construction, education, training and many related fields.
- It houses Historic Environment Scotland’s Technical Outreach and Education, Conservation Science, and Digital Documentation teams, strengthening the link between research, education, and technology to increase an understanding of buildings and materials.