Iona Abbey Celebrates Sustainability Success

Iona Abbey from entrance gate

Image Credit: Iona Community/ B.Forsyth

The historic Iona Abbey has been recognised at the Argyll and Bute Sustainable Design Awards 2023 securing the Peoples Choice Award. The awards aim to showcase the best examples of sustainable architecture and design in the region. 

Since 1938, the Iona Community has offered a place of hospitality to pilgrims within the residential accommodation of Iona Abbey. The refurbishment project, led by Wham Architecture and completed in 2020, involved upgrading the existing facilities and improving the energy efficiency and accessibility of the building. Sympathetic adaptations were made for wheelchair users as well as for those with visual and audio impairments, whilst safeguarding its original use for the future. 

Less than a kilometre away, the community-owned and volunteer-run, Iona Village Hall, was also recognised with design team led by WT Architecture securing the award in the Large Scale category. Both buildings demonstrate how sustainability and heritage can go hand in hand, creating spaces that are respectful of the past, responsive to the present, and resilient for the generations to come. 

Councillor Kieron Green, Policy Lead for Planning at Argyll & Bute Council, emphasised the role of these awards have in influencing future developments: As we work towards achieving net zero by 2045, I hope people will take inspiration from our winning entrants and create design solutions that not only complement the amazing Argyll and Bute landscape, but also meet the highest energy efficiency standards.”  

The Iona Community also has its eye fixed firmly on the future, stating their commitment to continuing work on sustainable development on the island.

Torsten Haak, Iona Community Executive Director, said: The next phase of our plans involves renovating the MacLeod Centre, with environmental and social sustainability absolutely at the heart of both the building and its future use something which is critical to us as we consider the Climate Crisis, a moment of urgency for Earth.”  

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