CSY Architects are celebrating an incredible sixty years in business in 2023, taking this opportunity to reflect on our heritage, whilst also refreshing our branding and setting our ambitions for the future.
The team recently held an exhibition and celebration to mark the occasion, displaying a selection of our extensive portfolio, from the 1960s up to more recent work, plus old team photos and memorabilia. The event was attended by past and present team members, clients and collaborators, who all enjoyed reminiscing and discussing the future of the practice.
Past and present Directors gave an insight into the people and places who have made the business such a success, and current team members explained how exploring our shared values has shaped our re-brand with the help of 39 Steps. Key to this was the sense of care at the heart of everything we do. We care about our people, we care about the people we work with and we care about the things and places we work on.
CSY Architects traces our history back to 1963, when Duncan Cameron founded his practice in Galashiels. The business has been evolving ever since, becoming Cameron Associates, Camerons, Camerons Strachan Yuill Architects, and most recently CSY Architects. The more recent name changes reflect the 2020 merger with Dalkeith-based Douglas Strachan Architect, and Berwick-based Bain Swan Architects. Having created a team “greater than the sum of its parts”, the company also converted to employee ownership in 2020, and we continue to pursue an ethos of everyone being supported to be their best.
The exhibition and celebration were hosted in the practice’s Galashiels office, which is itself an example of the architecture of Peter Womersley, who would have been 100 this year and was a mentor to Duncan Cameron. CSY Architects have plans to combine our expertise in conservation and sustainability to carry out a deep-retrofit of this building, which we hope will act as a case study for how existing buildings can be revived to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.
Whilst celebrating our own heritage and advocating conservation, CSY Architects are also keen to look to the future. These celebrations have therefore also been an opportunity to reflect on shared values, which we are proud to express through their new brand identity, emphasising community, people and places.
The future for CSY Architects will build on our strengths, improving and innovating, as we continue to explore new technologies and approaches. Innovation requires collaboration beyond the CSY team, including our valued relationships with clients, consultants and partners across the Borders, Lothians, Northumberland and beyond. For example, we are working with Edinburgh Napier University to provide apprenticeships, and on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership around the implementation of BIM in SMEs, the results of which should be of broader interest to the profession.
We are also working with the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit at the Glasgow School of Art on our own deep retrofit project. By combining their extensive research expertise with our practice-based knowledge, this will form a case study for projects like these and contribute to wider understanding of how they can be approached.
The CSY team were delighted to welcome many of our friends and collaborators to our event in November for some food and a few drinks. There were many stories, smiles and laughs, as we reflected on the past and toasted the future. The CSY team were also delighted to hear from many former colleagues, including previous Directors. They were particularly touched to hear from Duncan Cameron’s widow, Dorothy, who wished the team well, hoping the practice will continue for another sixty years!