A Highland architect has described the news that he was being made an MBE for his conservation work as “quite a bombshell”.
Nicholas Groves-Raines has been recognised for his services to architecture, heritage, and conservation across Scotland.
After starting out as a student in the 60s and realising his passion for conservation, he eventually became involved in conservation architecture.
“I’ve been preaching the reuse of existing buildings since I was in my 30s, which seems extraordinary,” he said.
“Little did I know then and what we know now, but it seemed to me a terrible waste just pulling things down for the sake of it.”
The 82-year-old, who lives in Skerra, is a co-director of Groves-Raines Architects, alongside his wife Kristin Hannesdottir and son Gunnar.
With over 50 years of experience, he has worked on a variety of conservation and development projects across the nation.
Determined to ‘rescue historic buildings’
Sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of developments have been integral to his work since the 1970s.
His drive and determination to rescue historic buildings saw him take on developments and projects, risking his own money.
The architect is also a former trustee for the National Trust for Scotland and a former board member of the Queen’s Hall.
His company is involved in a number of refurbishment projects in Sutherland and Shetland, giving him the opportunity to reuse and repurpose existing buildings.
Mr Groves-Raines also campaigns against the 20% VAT on building repairs, claiming it leads to the loss of existing houses when the country needs homes.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever and in terms of listed buildings, it’s very detrimental.” He added.
“It makes no sense to me in this day and age when you need to keep what you have and not pull things down and replace them because you save 20%, which is really not right.”