Union Terrace Gardens, Building, Architect, Design Team, Plans, Images, Contest
Aberdeen City Garden : Union Terrace Gardens
Aberdeen City Centre Proposals, Scotland – Referendum + Designs + Winner
13 Sep 2016 – LDA Design selected to draw up detailed design proposals:
9 Jun 2016 – Update:
30 Aug 2013
Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen
New Union Terrace Gardens Proposals New proposals for a major renovation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens have been unveiled. Architects Halliday Fraser Munro, working with Aberdeen City Council, has come up with a design which would see the gardens partly raised but remain sunken. The plans feature an arts centre, civic square and the rail line and Denburn dual carriageway covered over to link to Belmont Street. The designs also incorporate a new entrance to the railway station which is seen as key to increasing footfall in the area.
26 Jul 2013
Peacock Visual Arts Aberdeen
Peacock Visual Arts Building News The controversial Brisac Gonzalez-designed gallery scheme for Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen – abandoned in 2010 to be replaced by the even more controversial ‘Granite Web’ by Diller Scofidio + Renfro – appears to be back on the cards. Indeed why not? This was the initial plan and a fairly sensitive approach to this key urban location.
Union Terrace Gardens Centre Aberdeen – Peacock Visual Arts
image from architects
Like so many major urban developments – for example Glasgow’s George Square or London’s Battersea Power Station – there are lots of designs and design teams and then when all seems lost for one set suddenly the music stops and the prize once again lands in a new set of hands. According the BBC Scotland, Aberdeen City Council deputy leader Marie Boulton said the proposals backed by Peacock Visual Arts could be back on the table ‘in some shape or form’. 22 Aug 2012
Aberdeen City Garden News
Aberdeen City Garden Vote The Granite Web design – Aberdeen City Garden project looks close to being abandoned. Councillors voted 22-20 against the project. Instead they supported a proposal the Independent Alliance Group, led by councillor Marie Boulton, to use the TIF money to regenerate Union Street, the Arts Centre, the Music Hall, the Lemon Tree and the Mither Kirk. However the council will now have to consult with Scottish Futures Trust on whether they will accept a TIF bid based on not proceeding with CGP.
The council is expected to reject the £140m scheme – the most divisive project in the city for a generation – by one or two votes.
8 Aug 2012
New plans to be proposed for Union Terrace Gardens
The Independent group on the council’s ruling coalition announced it will table alternative plans for the Union Terrace Gardens site. The three-strong group plans to unveil details of a “compromise” solution before the crucial meeting to vote on the contentious scheme on 22 August. The meeting had been expected to be a straight vote between a call by the majority Labour group on the coalition administration to abandon the project and a motion by the SNP opposition to press ahead with the £140 million transformational project. But Councillor Marie Boulton, the depute council leader and leader of the Independents, announced she plans to propose an amendment at the meeting in a bid to secure an alternative way forward.
31 May 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Vote Postponed
A meeting over Aberdeen’s City Garden Project has been postponed more than two months to 22 Aug 2012. Councillors decided to postpone the discussion on the redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens until a date when all 43 members will be able to attend.
23 May 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Vote
Aberdeen City Council will vote on the Aberdeen City Garden proposal – proceed or abandon – on June 13.
14 May 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Cancellation
Aberdeen’s controversial Union Terrace Gardens project set for the axe as Labour take control of the city
The controversial £140m garden project in Aberdeen may be cancelled. Labour formed a coalition to run the city after winning the race to be the largest party in last week’s elections. Their first move was to announce a free vote on the future of the Union Terrace Gardens scheme (as widely discussed in the Press prior to the elections). Talks between Sir Ian Wood and senior Labour councillors have failed to reach agreement. Aberdeen City Garden – winning proposal from north west:
image of winning design
The party’s 17 councillors will back calls to scrap it and they are confident of winning enough support from the Liberals and independents. It is claimed there is a majority on the council who are against the plans and that it is impossible to see it going ahead.
2 Mar 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Referendum
Aberdeen’s residents vote in favour of City Garden Project
There were 45,301 votes in favour of the project, with 41,175 people opposed to the plans. The design by american architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Scottish architects Keppie and landscape architects OLIN has been promoted by much of the local establishment and local media. However, local council elections in the Spring will prove pivotal in how the project moves forward.
Half of Aberdeen’s residents cast City Garden Project referendum vote
The BBC report this morning that 52% of residents – out of approximately 165,000 eligible – have voted in the referedum. 28 Feb 2012 Half of Aberdeen’s residents have cast their vote in the referendum on controversial plans to redevelop the city’s Union Terrace Gardens, reports the BBC. People are being asked if they want to keep the historic gardens as they are or back the £140m City Garden Project redevelopment. Independent counting officer Crawford Langley said the turnout so far was about 50%.
The ballot closes this Thursday, with the result due the next day. Meanwhile, councillors are to hear a report from a financial watchdog which says redeveloping Union Terrace Gardens could be a potential long-term financial risk. One problem is people are being asked to vote for or against Granite Web proposal, rather than for or against the principal. In the report to the authority’s audit and risk committee, Audit Scotland warns that a key risk would be the affordability of the project and its impact on the city’s finances should tax incremental financing (TIF) fail to provide the necessary increase in business rates.
Council leader Callum McCaig claims the risks of the TIF funding mechanism are low and the auditors are simply doing their job by being cautious. Businessman Sir Ian Wood is backing the project with £50m of his own money, and the Wood Family Trust has offered an additional £35m for any cost overruns. However opponents claim the project is wrong for Aberdeen, historically and financially. The Scottish government must see a finalised business case for the project before it can proceed. e-architect aim to report the result here on this page late on Friday. 23 Jan 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Images
Aberdeen City Garden Design
Philadelphia – OLIN is pleased to announce that it is on the winning team for the Aberdeen City Garden project design competition in Aberdeen, Scotland. In addition to OLIN, the team includes Diller Scofidio + Renfro and KeppieDesign. Malcolm Reading Consultants organized the international competition process. This remarkable project, which will transform the center of Aberdeen, is both a garden and a cultural center. The winning design concept will now be subject to a referendum. If the referendum reveals that the public is in support of the project, detailed designs will be produced for a planning application. Granite Web design:
image of winning design Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
16 Jan 2012
Aberdeen City Garden – Contest Winner
Diller Scofidio + Renfro win Aberdeen City Centre Project
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who collaborated with local Scottish architects, Keppie Design and landscape architects OLIN Aberdeen City Garden Trust is delighted to announce that the team led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro has won the design competition to transform the centre of Aberdeen.
Internationally-renowned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who collaborated with local Scottish architects, Keppie Design and landscape architects OLIN, was chosen as the winner after the competition was extended to include a run-off between the DS+R-led team and the Foster + Partners-led team. The successful proposal, popularly known as the Granite Web, celebrates the three-dimensional aspects of Aberdeen, reinterpreting the topography of the Denburn Valley and the dramatic cascade of the existing Union Terrace Gardens while creating graceful new spaces and structures that contribute to a memorable and thrilling contemporary design. Aberdeen City Garden – winning proposal from south at dusk:
image of winning design
It provides additional usable garden space, a landmark cultural and arts centre, and promotes the City’s historic streets, revealing the arches, vaults and bridge on Union Street and retaining the balustrades and statues which are part of Aberdeen’s legacy. The Jury’s decision represents a breakthrough for DS+R giving them their first major European design competition win. DS+R Partner, Charles Renfro said the practice was very excited about ‘jumping across the pond’, commenting: ‘The steep competition drove us that much harder to do more research, to understand the site more thoroughly, to dig deeper into our creative reserve and our technical expertise to find a daring, thoughtful and beautiful solution.
‘While the City Garden is at the heart of Aberdeen, the heart has little pulse…we feel that we can make that heart throb and bring life and energy into the centre of town. By making the park greener, more accommodating to passive and active uses, more engaged at its edges, the gardens can become a magnet for this otherwise youthful and energetic city. We feel particularly well suited to this challenge – the project reflects an integration of landscape design, museum design and design for the performing arts, the primary focuses of our practice.’
The Jury weighed information from a technical panel, face-to-face discussions with the respective teams, public and stakeholder feedback; the two finalists’ schemes being those most popular in a public exhibition held in the city in the autumn. The winning design scored higher in all key areas of the brief including, creation of more new space, cost and viability in construction and on-going maintenance, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. Malcolm Reading, the competition organiser, commented: ‘This is such an exciting outcome and a great coup for the city.
This ingenious and inspiring design for Aberdeen’s key public space gives the city a new social landscape but one rooted in its extraordinarily rich heritage and natural assets. ‘The runner-up concept, by Foster + Partners was outstanding, elegant and thoughtful, but did not, in the end, persuade the Jury that it could match the promise of connectivity, excitement and spatial diversity of the winning scheme.’
image of winning design
Sir Duncan Rice, former Principal of Aberdeen University and Chair of the Jury said: ‘The Diller Scofidio team had thought long and hard about Aberdeen’s special history and unique needs. Answer by answer, they overwhelmed the jury with their vision and their sensitivity to the whole downtown context. They are flexible and responsive, and the thrilling concept they have offered will continue to adapt and evolve as discussion proceeds. I’m proud that our city has been able to attract a team which combines distinction, creativity and urban experience.’ Charles Landry, author of The Creative City and a member of the Jury added: ‘This is a design that can act as the catalyst to regenerate the whole of Aberdeen’s city centre with significant economic impacts for the entire city. Truly inspiring, it can put Aberdeen onto the global radar screen – very, very few designs can do this. In time it will be surely loved by locals and visitors alike. Without this type of transformational change, Aberdeen will struggle to meet the challenges it will inevitably face in the future.’
The winning practice has received worldwide acclaim for its work, including the award-winning High Line in New York which has reinvented an obsolete elevated freight rail line as an inspiring public park that attracts visitors from all over the world and is much valued by locals. Other notable projects include the Lincoln Center Redevelopment in New York, the Blur Building for the Swiss Expo and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. DS+R is known for an interdisciplinary approach to architecture which encompasses architectural theory and installations, as well as video and electronic art.
The City Garden Project team has been working along with Aberdeen City Council and consultants PWC to develop a solid business case for funding the project as part of the wider city centre regeneration scheme. The winning design concept will now be subject to a referendum. If the referendum reveals that the public are in support of the project, detailed designs will be produced for a planning application. John Stewart, Chairman of the City Garden Project management board said: ‘We promised the public we would deliver an exceptional design and then produce a detailed economic assessment. This will be announced shortly so that the public know what the project could look like, how it will be funded and the economic benefits it will bring before making their decision in the referendum.’
24 Nov 2011
Aberdeen City Garden – Contest Winners
Designs to Transform Aberdeen City Centre Unveiled
Two designs called Granite Web and Winter Garden will go head-to-head to win the competition to transform Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens: Aberdeen City Garden – Team 1 proposal:
image of Team 1 proposal
A referendum on plans to transform Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) could cost £250,000 and be held in February, a report claims.
18 Oct 2011 ; Comments added 25 Oct 2011 (scroll down for these)
Aberdeen City Garden – Designs
Designs to Transform Aberdeen City Centre Unveiled
Short-listed design teams in the International Design Competition for the City Garden Project place models and visuals on show. The eagerly-awaited concept designs for the City Garden Project were unveiled today. Aberdeen City Garden – Team 1 proposal:
image of Team 1 proposal
e-architect had a quick shot at guessing which entry is which:
1- Diller Scofidio and Renfro / Keppie Design 2 – Foster & Partners / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture 3 – Snøhetta / Gareth Hoskins Architects 4 – Gustafson Porter / Niall McLaughlin Architects 5 – Mecanoo Architecten / Cooper Cromar 6 – West 8 urban design & landscape architecture
Views on the Union Terrace Gardens proposals welcome: info(at)e-architect.co.uk
25 Oct 2011
Comments received from a visitor to the Union Terrace Gardens exhibition: No.2 best and No.1 worst No 1 is pie in the sky, literally. it would be far too expensive, both in building and upkeep. As one lady remarked “who`s going to be mowing a` that bits o` grass?” It would need miles of fencing too to stop folk falling off the web. No 2 is good in that it keeps the bowl of the existing gardens, but also links into Belmont Street. And the perspex cover would be ideal for Aberdeen`s weather. It and No 6 are, I think, the only design that allows for a link below Union street so that sooner or later there could be access from Union Square. At present people go just to Union Square and never get into the rest of the town.
It could just as well have been built as an out of town shopping centre and caused a lot less traffic problems. No 3 is quite flat and boring but does have the advantage of links to Belmont Street without covering the road, so cheaper. The trees are obviously not going to look like that for another 30 years. No 4 seems fussy and bitty, as shown on the model. No 5 is a work in progress. It all sounds a bit airy fairy, and it`s not clear how it would look. The model is not much help. No 6 wouldn`t be too bad if it weren`t for the monstrosity at the entrance. The exhibits still left a lot of unanswered questions. The place was packed.
Aberdeen City Garden Design
The six finalists have submitted entries which demonstrate how the central site of the Denburn valley could be transformed to provide a new green heart, better accessibility and an enriched urban experience for residents and visitors. Each entry uses a 3D model, images, design drawings and a design rationale to illustrate their vision, concept and approach for the site. Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants who are running the design competition said: “This is a special moment in the competition where for the first time we can see how these six remarkable teams envision the City Garden for Aberdeen.
The designs are exceptional – all of them memorable in their own way and visually rich and inspired combinations of landscape, urban design and architecture. “They are not finished designs but already one can see the insights each design team has taken from the site and the brief. They all demonstrate how level access, place-making and new green spaces could completely transform this area, making a new landmark for Aberdeen. “The designs show how new facilities for cultural use could be incorporated into the spaces, making the most of safe pedestrian access, natural light and integration into the cultural quarter of the city, as well as spaces for public events all through the year.” The designs are anonymous so that the ranking by the public is not prejudiced in any way.
Design 1 features a three dimensional web of pathways over green parkland with the warp and weft of urban lines supporting park and cultural activities.
Design 2 has doubled the size of the gardens, making them twice the size of Trafalgar Square with an extended glass winter garden running along the middle to make an area for all seasons.
Design 3 envisages a new garden with an extensive water feature and contemporary cultural centre off a half buried street with clean angular lines.
Design 4 uses imaginative floral landscaping to tie together the crucial pieces of city centre fabric and create a sun-filled arena within a concentric space.
Design 5 draws on the historic character of streets and spaces over different levels and uses a mix of hard and soft landscaping to create a series of distinct but inter-connected spaces with footbridges connecting the project to Belmont Street.
Design 6 also doubles the size of the gardens with layered green areas set in the existing topography that offer differing views, a community boulevard, cultural promenade and terraced flower garden. Mr Reading added: “The over-whelming quality of presentation and depth of thinking has fully equalled our expectations for the competition. It’s a justification of the effort and imagination of those involved in making this project happen and is proof that Aberdeen is a city on the world design agenda. “I would encourage the people of Aberdeen to attend the exhibition to see all the elemens – the models, the images and the design rationale to fully understand the merits and potential of each.”
The competition attracted world-wide interest from some of the most elite names in architecture, urban and landscape design in the world. The teams selected by the jury represent a mix of global and home-grown talent and were able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the project and the need to design a unique public space that will provide an attractive, accessible and contemporary addition that also embraces Aberdeen’s architectural and cultural heritage. Each of the collaborative teams is led by industry-acclaimed companies who have an impressive global track record, underpinned by a strong Scottish component from across Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Members of the public attending the exhibition will be invited to indicate their preferred design and this will be provided to the jury. The finalists’ submissions which include the models and designs, written responses and costs will be reviewed by a technical panel who will advise the jury. Interviews with the design teams and the jury will be conducted prior to a winner being announced mid-November. The winning design and the TIF business case will be presented to Aberdeen City Council In December. The council will then decide if it is to be taken to the planning stage.
10 Oct 2011
Aberdeen City Garden Architecture Competition Exhibition
19 Oct – 2 Nov 2011
The six shortlisted entries for the Aberdeen City Garden Design Competition will be unveiled at a public exhibition in the city on October 19th 2011. Images and models of each proposed concept design will be on show for two weeks and visitors to the exhibition will be invited to express a preference. The competition jury, chaired by Sir Duncan Rice, former principal of the University of Aberdeen, will meet on the 8th November. Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants, who is running the design competition, said: ‘We are now at the really exciting stage of seeing the potential for Aberdeen for the first time since this project was announced.
The calibre of the design teams and their passion for this project has inspired everyone involved. The overwhelming response and quality of submissions have surpassed our expectations and underlined the opportunity that the project presents as a catalyst to regenerate the city centre.’ The exhibition is being held at Unit 10 of The Academy, Belmont Street – adjacent to the site and runs until the November 2nd. A winner will be announced in November, following the Jury’s deliberations.
22 Jul 2011
Aberdeen City Garden Architecture Competition Shortlist
Aberdeen City Garden Design Contest
MALCOLM READING CONSULTANTS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR PRESTIGIOUS CITY GARDEN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION
Diller Scofidio and Renfro / Keppie Design Foster & Partners / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture Snøhetta / Gareth Hoskins Architects Gustafson Porter / Niall McLaughlin Architects Mecanoo Architecten / Cooper Cromar West 8 urban design & landscape architecture
The announcement of the finalists of the International Design Competition for Aberdeen’s City Garden Project was revealed today (Friday, July 22). Six finalists have been selected to go on to the second stage of the competition after a unanimous vote by the jury panel. Each of the finalists will be provided with the competition brief and they will respond by presenting concept designs for the City Garden in September 2011.
Attracting worldwide interest from some of the most elite names in architecture, urban and landscape design, the response underlines the recognition of the huge opportunity that the project presents as the catalyst to regenerate the city centre. A mix of international and home-grown talent, the finalists have demonstrated a clear understanding of the ambition of the project and the need to design a unique public space embracing Aberdeen’s architectural and cultural heritage. Each of the collaborative teams are led by industryacclaimed companies which have an impressive global track record, underpinned by a strong Scottish component across Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Aberdeen City Garden – Finalists
– Diller Scofidio and Renfro (New York) / Keppie Design (Glasgow) working in association with landscape architect Olin Studio – Foster & Partners (London) / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture (Beirut) working in association with cost and construction consultant Gardiner & Theobald – Snøhetta (Oslo) / Gareth Hoskins Architects (Glasgow) working in association with engineering and multi-discipline company AECOM – Gustafson Porter (London) / Niall McLaughlin Architects (London) working with urban analyst Space Syntax, engineer Arup and cost adviser Jackson Coles – Mecanoo Architecten (Delft, Netherlands) / Cooper Cromar (Glasgow) working in association with landscape architect Ian White, engineer Buro Happold and cost adviser Davis Langdon (AECOM) – West 8 urban design & landscape architecture (Rotterdam, Netherlands) / Archial Group (Aberdeen) working in association with engineer Arup and cost and construction consultant Turner & Townsend
Sir Duncan Rice, former principal of the University of Aberdeen who chaired the jury panel, said: “That the competition attracted high-level interest from around the world is a great compliment to Aberdeen City and Shire.
The jury agreed unanimously on the six finalists and is excited about the potential of their visions for the City Gardens Project.” The jury was extremely impressed with the creative minds and cuttingedge designs from previous projects that the teams had delivered. What made a particular impact on the jurors was the way in which many of the finalists addressed the garden and landscaping aspects of the project. They are now excited about the strengths and qualities each will bring to creating a vision for the City Gardens Project that embraces Aberdeen’s success and international status.
Charles Landry, a cities’ guru on urban regeneration, and one of the jury panel said: “What was very notable about the finalists is that they are already actively involved in tackling similar challenges to those posed by the City Garden project, and their submissions had drawn inspiration from the issues in Aberdeen.
Many of the innovative projects that they have achieved in other places have not only captured the world’s eye and admiration but become much-loved and a source of pride for the respective local communities. “As part of the selection process, it was important to have a balance of finalists capable of bringing an element of surprise. The finalists involve a mix of landscape design-led and urban-design-led teams who, through applying innovative thinking to how to make best use of civic space, have achieved remarkable success in regenerating once vibrant cities which have lost their charisma and cultural spirit.” The International Design Competition attracted an impressive 55 submissions – involving in excess of 150 companies – received by contest organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants. More than 70% of these submissions involved collaborative efforts, whereby award-winning international teams joined forces with smaller specialised practices in a variety of fields and landscape architects.
There was a very high level of collaboration. Malcolm Reading said of the competition shortlist: “The sheer calibre of the finalists’ submissions was exceptional. At this stage of the competition we are selecting on capability and expertise. All of the finalists had assembled teams which draw in other skillsets and were able to demonstrate directly relevant experience of handling similar challenges around the world. “In addition, the submissions involve highly-respected architects and landscape architects with experts in engineering and cost management disciplines, including project partners with Scottish offices and people. The depth of thought and consideration that was given to the local delivery of their proposals underlines a fundamental understanding of the project.”
The jury panel included: the deputy leader of Aberdeen City Council, John Stewart; Sir Ian Wood, Wood Family Trust ,Tom Smith, chairman of ACSEF; cities’ guru on urban regeneration, Charles Landry; Lavina Massie, former chair of both Aberdeen Civic Forum and the Aberdeen City Alliance; and Malcolm Reading, architect and heritage expert. The finalists’ announcement concludes the competition’s first phase which was aimed at attracting technically competent and professional teams from all over the world to register their interest in the project. As part of the second stage of the competition, the short-listed teams will be issued with a comprehensive brief and asked to produce a concept design.
They will also be invited to a briefing session in Aberdeen arranged by Malcolm Reading Consultants. Concept design submissions will be made in September, following a concentrated eight-week design programme for the teams. This will be followed by a public exhibition of the six shortlisted designs at the end of September in Aberdeen. The finalists’ concept designs will then be reviewed by a technical panel before the jury conducts interviews prior to a winner being announced at the end of the year. The city council will then decide if the design is to be taken to the planning stage. The City Garden Project proposes a radical transformation of a key part of central Aberdeen to create a focal point that will provide a safe all-year round garden and civic space, by raising the inaccessible, under-used Union Terrace Gardens to cover the unattractive Denburn dual carriageway and adjacent railway line.
Aberdeen City Garden – Shortlisted Architects
Foster + Partners / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture
West 8 urban design & landscape architecture
Aberdeen City Garden Design Competition
Aberdeen City Garden Designs : background to the competition
Union Terrace Gardens Proposals images from RG
Views on the Union Terrace Gardens plans welcome
Location:Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen
Union Square Aberdeen development
image from architects
Union Terrace Gardens Arts Building design : Brisac Gonzalez Architects
Marischal College Building by Holmes
image from architects
Comments / photos for the Aberdeen City Garden – Union Terrace Gardens page welcome
Aberdeen City Garden : page