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HydroNess is a RIAS 2024 award winner

A striking, award winning solution to green energy provision.

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Christine Kiltie


04 June 2024

From a shortlist of the finest examples of architecture in Scotland, HydroNess has been awarded a 2024 RIAS award.

HydroNess is a sculptural, bold and playful form which houses hydro turbines on the bank of the River Ness.

Before this latest accolade, it was recognised nationally in renewable and construction awards including the Best Small Project in the British Construction Industry awards 2022 and Engaging Public Award at the 2022 VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.

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Providing nearly 50% of the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre’s electricity, this project forms part of the Highland Council’s targets to be net-zero by 2045, reducing reliance on grid supplied energy and giving protection from increasing energy prices. 

HydroNess is a 92kW Archimedes screw hydroelectric scheme and interactive visitor experience which will generate over 500,000 kWh of renewable energy each year.  As water from the River Ness flows into the Hydro, it passes through spiral blades forcing the screw to turn with the energy generated converted into electricity. 

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RIAS recognised the significant impact which the design approach has made, “Highland Council’s determination to promote and celebrate hydroelectric power has encouraged the architect to be more daring, and the outcome has placed this scheme very much at the forefront of the net-zero challenge”.

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Local artist, Claire MacLean, produced the original concept drawings which reflect the shape and colours of the local salmon. Leslie Hutt Architect, now merged with Oberlanders, worked with Hasson Engineering Services to transform the concept.

By winning a RIAS, HydroNess is eligible to be entered into both the Stirling Prize and the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.

Read more in the RIBA Journal here.

This project was a great journey through the ups and downs of covid times with an inspired client and a committed design and build team”.

Les Hutt


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