A Robert Gordon University (RGU) student has enjoyed a unique role as a judge for the Aberdeenshire Architectural and Landscape Design Awards (AALDA).
The 12th biennial awards, which are made up of seven categories, showcase and celebrate the very best in innovative and sustainable design across the region.
One category in the scheme – Future Proof Living – has been specially designed for students of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture at RGU.
Running in conjunction with end-of-year submissions, the category focuses on innovative solutions to address specific needs of future generations such as an ageing population, social inclusion, health and wellbeing and mixed housing.
Students are asked to submit their design proposals which are judged by a panel of industry experts.
In light of the previous successes of the student award as well as the good working relationship between Aberdeenshire Council and Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, it was agreed that a current student should be involved in the AALDA judging process.
At the time of judging, Rachael O’Donnell was in her final year of studying architecture and was serving as joint president of the 5710⁰ architecture society at RGU.
Rachael was involved in the judging of all categories, with the exception of the student category.
She said: “I was keen to be the first student judge on the panel as I had written my Masters degree dissertation on architectural criticism and felt that schemes like the AALDA are a fantastic opportunity to provide feedback and competition, which is really important to any architect or designer.
“Being a judge for AALDA has been a unique and enriching experience for me.
“Not many people get the chance to see a competition process from the organisation and evaluation side.
“It has been a great opportunity to participate in this architectural discourse.”
Paul Macari, head of Aberdeenshire Council’s Planning and Environmental Services, said: “It is wonderful to see young professionals at the start of their careers want to get involved in our award scheme.
“It gives us great confidence for the future in design.”