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Mareel has received a Commendation from the Civic Trust Awards, one of only five Scottish projects to receive a Commendation. From 238 applications, 134 were progressed for consideration by the National Panel (12 from Scotland). A total of 79 national and international projects were rewarded with a Civic Trust Award, Commendation, or Community Recognition.

Commendations are given to projects that make a significant contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment and demonstrate a good standard of architecture or design, sustainability, universal design and provide a positive social, cultural, environmental or economic benefit to the local community.

Managed by Shetland Arts Development Agency, the leading arts agency in Shetland, Mareel is the UK’s most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre.

The building, designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects, is situated in a prominent quayside area in Lerwick, adjacent to the Shetland Museum and Archives and incorporates: a live performance auditorium, two cinema screens, rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, education and training spaces, a digital media production suite, broadcast facilities and a cafe bar with free, high speed wi-fi internet access. Providing a year round programme of film, live music, education and other performance events, Mareel is a hub and a focus for the creative communities in Shetland and beyond.


Mareel. Photo by Phatsheep Photography.

In their Commendation the Civic Trust Awards described Mareel as: “a key element in the regeneration of [the] waterfront edge of the town.” They added: “The architectural response reflects the tradition of simple, robust forms and echoes the materiality of the fishing industry buildings dotted along the waterfront.

Shetland Arts’ Director, Gwilym Gibbons, said: “Mareel is a very special venue. A tribute to the design is the speed and the way in which people have made Mareel their new creative home. Mareel has one of the best attended cinemas in the UK, a busy recording studio linked to the main auditorium with a sought after acoustic quality that has led artists to choose Shetland over other studios in the UK. The venue also houses the delivery of further and higher education courses and a broad range of live music is performed on the Mareel stage, regularly live streamed to the world through our in house broadcast partner 60 North TV. It has become a buzzing creative hub with a busy cafe bar which doubles up as an important social and business meeting point. Mareel a huge cultural asset, an asset that has value far beyond Shetland shores and for generations to come.”

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