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Altyre’s intentions for renewal, modernisation and for
re-energising the local economy are most evident in its plans to restore and redevelop a unique architectural jewel – the Italianate-themed Blairs Farm Steading as a state of art ‘Creative Campus’ for the Glasgow School of Art.

An artist’s impression of GSA’s new Creative Campus in the historic Italianate Steading

In many ways the transformation of the Steading is a metaphor for Altyre at large. The Steading is described by Historic Scotland as a ‘most unusual complex of outstanding interest’. Extensive consultations were held with Moray Council and with Historic Scotland to ensure that its imminent redevelopment as a rural enterprise centre would restore and safeguard Simpson’s original vision. Grant funding to support the project has been provided by Highlands & Islands Enterprise and by Historic Scotland. The greater part of the project is funded privately by the Altyre Estate.

This restoration and reuse of an important listed architectural asset forms part of a long term template for our work at Altyre. Opening its first stage in May 2016 the GSA Centre for Design Innovation will become an ‘exemplar’ for cooperation between private landowners and public funding agencies and Scotland’s education sector. The project will provide workshops, teaching rooms, lecture and exhibition spaces and hospitality facilities for one of the world’s leading design universities. The estate is also working with GSA to provide accommodation for international visitors and leading academics to enable them to undertake research, give lectures and activate projects here.

The three largest buildings will be transformed into a 10,000 sq ft horseshoe shaped campus, providing studio and exhibition space as well as areas for teaching, lecturing and flexible experience lab work. The campus will be suitable for multi-disciplinary research activities directed at addressing the challenges of, and ambitions for, the Highlands and Islands. The Blairs Steadings project…forms part of a much larger initiative that will bring social and economic benefits, not just in Moray but across the Highlands and Islands.’
HIE June 2015.

Altyre is exploring similar ways of working collaboratively, as both a host and project driver, for other ‘affinity partnerships’ which bring together imaginative and practical ways of sharing interests, resources and social and economic responsibility. We are currently, for example, identifying participants to come forward to work with us on projects at the Grade A Altyre Stables and our greenfield Chapelton site. Our work with HIE has been a notable aspect of the successful collaboration on the Creative Campus project. There is also the added value in such projects of recovering, restoring and reusing for new purposes high quality buildings and spaces that have fallen into disuse.

‘It’s hugely encouraging to see these previously redundant, A-listed buildings given a sustainable future. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this multi-partnership project ….. the benefits of it will be felt by the local community and beyond for many years to come.”
Historic Scotland June 2015.

The adjacency of the GSA campus and it connections with a wider global community combined with the development of Altyre’s relationship with other institutions in Moray and the Highlands and Islands is already providing a platform for wider innovation, facilitation and collaboration on this forward looking estate

Early progress on Altyre’s delivery of workshops and demonstration spaces for R&D at the new Centre for Design Innovation at Blair’s Farm Steading

The Stables

We have recently commissioned design proposals from 4 local architects intended to inform and assess options for the use of the Stables and adjoining buildings and determine how this Grade A group can be restored and efficiently re-planned to serve our future needs. 

The Saw Mill

Located strategically on the A940, the main gateway between the arterial A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road and the Cairngorms National Park, the Old Sawmill sits opposite the main entrance to Altyre and is allocated in our 5 year plan as a prime site for restoration and development 

Comyn Museum

To follow this week

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Our aim is to establish Altyre as the 'rural hub' within Moray and as a regional 'gateway' to innovation, enterprise and investment.
Altyre Estate Forres IV36 2SH | Tel (0)1309 672265 E-mail
Design: 2bcreative Build: Alchemy Plus Copy writing: Workhouse