Public appointment: members appointed to the board of Architecture and Design Scotland

Public appointments news release.

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The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development and Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine, Mr Gray, today announced the appointment of Mrs Samantha McCabe and Dr Georgiana Varna as Members of the Board of Architecture and Design Scotland


Mrs Samantha McCabe, Director of Sustainability, Architect and PassivHaus Designer. Samantha is an adaptable team player and strong leader with an inquisitive mind whom throughout her career, has positively contributed to the built environment and has created and improved spaces that promote wellness, comfort and give experiences that promote a sense of place and ownership. Samantha is passionate about creating low energy buildings that not only respond to the climate emergency and address fuel poverty but improve the quality of our living environments. Her focus is about reducing the amount of carbon our projects use and inspiring clients to want to be aware and accountable for it. The drive to low energy construction often leads to discussions around budget. Many projects have clear sustainability key performance indicators linked to funding, however, cost versus carbon is still a challenge. Samantha advocates that low energy design shouldn’t be a choice, it isn’t difficult, it just requires a different way of thinking and approach to detailing and product sources.

Dr Georgiana Varna is a Senior Lecturer in Urbanism and Planning at Newcastle University, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. She has obtained her PhD focused on assessing the quality of public spaces created on Glasgow’s regenerated waterfront, at the University of Glasgow (2007 – 2011). Since then, she has been working with a variety of public sector organisations in the urban policy arena, in the UK with the Scottish Cities Alliance, Local councils in Scotland and England, and the national Finnish government. Her main research interests and activities are grounded by a passion for quality of place, inclusive city governance, and sucesfull city partnerships. She is a member of the Associations of European Schools of Planning Public Spaces and Urban Cultures group and regularly attends international conferences and events, having a wide network of collaborators and contacts in the UK, Europe, the US and beyond. 


The appointments will be for four years and will run from 16 June 2022 to 15 june 2026.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The appointments are part-time and attracts a remuneration of £178.57 per day for a time commitment of 24 days per annum.

Other ministerial appointments

Mrs Samantha McCabe and Dr Georgiana Varna do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. 

Mrs Samantha McCabe and Dr Georgiana Varna have had no political activity within the last five years.


Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS) was established in 2005 to promote good architecture and sustainable design.

We do this by working with other organisations to encourage a focus on place that embraces good architecture and urban design.

We are an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body and our work supports the delivery of the Scottish Government’s objectives and outcomes as set out in the National Performance Programme (NPF).

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