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New UHI student prize to be announced as Inverness-based HRI Munro Architecture celebrates 25th anniversary


By Val Sweeney

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HRI Munro Architecture has pioneered buildings such as the Forestry Commission Scotland district office at Smithton. Picture: John Paul
HRI Munro Architecture has pioneered buildings such as the Forestry Commission Scotland district office at Smithton. Picture: John Paul

A new student prize plus the launch of a lecture series will mark the 25th anniversary of an Inverness architectural practice renowned for developing innovative timber construction technologies.

HRI Munro Architecture will celebrate the occasion with a gathering at Eden Court Theatre today when it will announce its inaugural UHI student prize.

It will also launch its lecture series, HRI Munro invites…, with a presentation by Graham Hogg and Tom Smith, of the award-winning design collective Lateral North, who will talk about their work in community-driven initiatives.

HRI Munro Architecture director Andy Bruce hopes the series will attract a wide range of speakers from the arts.

“HRI Munro are busier than ever,” he said.

“Over the years we’ve survived successive financial crashes and the pandemic.

“We are always changing and developing and will be bringing in new directors and associates over the next two years.

“Architecture is a creative business that combines art and science.

“Personally, I’ve always supported the arts and this new lecture series will run two to three times a year and hopefully attract speakers with a national profile to Inverness.”

The recipient of the inaugural HRI Munro Student Prize will be presented to the best architectural technology student from Inverness College UHI.

The prize will consist of cash and a placement within HRI Munro Architecture, providing training and mentoring to a new generation of architectural technologists in the Highlands.

HRI Munro Architecture has pioneered timber construction in buildings such as the Forestry Commission District Office at Smithton.
HRI Munro Architecture has pioneered timber construction in buildings such as the Forestry Commission District Office at Smithton.

The architectural practice began in 1997, managing the major phase two project at the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness.

Its first office at 17 Queensgate was a regional office of the Hurd Rolland Partnership, run by HRP regional partner Andrew Bruce. Mark Williams, now HRIM co-director, arrived in Inverness in 1998 to run the Eastgate project on site.

It acquired the long-established Inverness practice Hector MacDonald Associates in 1999 leading to a wider spread of work across the Highlands.

In 2002, Mr Bruce acquired the Inverness office as an independent practice and renamed it HRI Architects.

The business has become renowned as a pioneer in developing innovative and sustainable timber construction technologies and is now increasingly involved with renewable energy projects in Caithness and Orkney.

In 2016, the practice grew further with the incorporation of Thomas Munro and Company, the oldest practice in Inverness, and re-branded as HRI Munro Architecture. It opened an office in Thurso in 2019.

The business is still growing with new employees and is involved with the city’s cultural life through sponsorship of the chamber orchestra, The Mahler Players, running the Upstairs Gallery which closed during the pandemic and initiating the HIAA Awards for Architecture and the Inverness Design Review Panel.

Alison Wilson, director of advancement and alumni engagement at UHI, was delighted one of its student had been recognised for their hard-work and achievement through the new award

“It is important that we create opportunities for talented young people to achieve their potential and that we provide the skills pipeline required to meet the needs of local businesses,” she said.


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