Spotlight on the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland
The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) is committed to encouraging public understanding and appreciation of the built environment, and supports the thoughtful and meaningful preservation and restoration of historic buildings. The society began as a campaigning group to save Edinburgh’s George Square in 1956, but soon broadened its focus to study and protect all of the country’s important structures.
The society’s diverse activity falls into two main categories. Firstly, it is a membership organisation, with regional groups all over the country organising events, trips and lectures on fascinating topics. A popular benefit of membership is that these groups often organise viewings of private buildings, inaccessible to the public, with tours led by those who know them best. The annual study tour is the highlight of the year.
Secondly, the AHSS operates a Cases Panel network that covers Scotland. Teams of local volunteers carefully review all planning applications submitted to local authorities which affect listed buildings, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites. The Panels assess, discuss, reach a consensus and write to the planning department. These letters reflect the Society’s view as to whether the applications are appropriate and serve the best interest of our historic environment. The Society finds that the extra support and time spent reviewing a case can be invaluable to the decision maker. Letters are not all negative: some applications are praised for their sensitivity, creativity or subtlety.
Membership includes three publications a year. The Architectural Heritage Journal is the foremost source of new architectural history and conservation research in Scotland, whilst a spring and autumn magazine keeps members up to date on the Society’s work and activities, developments in conservation, topical issues and news from the cultural sector.
For more information, visit the group's website.