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Union Terrace Gardens designs unveiled

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October 18 2011

Union Terrace Gardens designs unveiled
Shortlisted designs for a controversial remodelling of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens have been unveiled for the first time, outlining a range of visions for the site.

They aim to transform the Denburn Valley into a “green heart” for the city, enhancing accessibility and the urban experience for residents and visitors.

Six design teams (anonymised for the judging period) are in contention for the project, including Foster and Partners, Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Snohetta/Gareth Hoskins Architects, Gustafson Porter, Mecanoo and West 8.

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."

A public exhibition of the plans will be showcased at The Academy, Belmont Street, from Wednesday.

Interviews with the design team and jury will take place prior to the winner being announced in mid November. A TIF business case will then be presented to the Council in December before the decision is taken upon whether to proceed to the planning stage.
Design 01 features a three dimensional web of pathways over green parkland with the warp and weft of urban lines supporting park and cultural activities.
Design 01 features a three dimensional web of pathways over green parkland with the warp and weft of urban lines supporting park and cultural activities.
Design 02 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 02 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 03 envisages a new garden with an extensive water feature and contemporary cultural centre off a half buried street with clean angular lines.
Design 03 envisages a new garden with an extensive water feature and contemporary cultural centre off a half buried street with clean angular lines.
Design 04 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 04 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 05 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 05 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 06 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.
Design 06 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.

27 Comments

Sven
#1 Posted by Sven on 18 Oct 2011 at 16:37 PM
02 and 06 are my favourites. I am not convinced that the gardens need any sort of redesign but I like the idea of a garden based design. 02 does look like a few clear turtle shells turned upside down but given the areas weather, it looks a thought out idea.
Carlo M
#2 Posted by Carlo M on 18 Oct 2011 at 16:46 PM
The Borg spaceship landing site is particularly impressive on 06.
Carlo M
#3 Posted by Carlo M on 18 Oct 2011 at 16:51 PM
I think 02 has a re-used image from
" It's a Wonderful Life " ......clever
Barry
#4 Posted by Barry on 18 Oct 2011 at 18:22 PM
I need to see more images to form a better opinion. But design 2 looks good -- a winter gardens amongst the gardens seems nice.Is it the Foster one ? It's got his 'look' about it.
Brian
#5 Posted by Brian on 18 Oct 2011 at 22:13 PM
The main pic looks like cumbernauld 30yr ago!
Jamie
#6 Posted by Jamie on 19 Oct 2011 at 09:10 AM
Design #1 is dreadful. It reminds me of some of the public/pedestrian spaces around the M8 motorway in Glasgow. You'd think after Basil Spence's Gorbals towers architects would learn that large areas of concrete are not attractive for half the year in a northern European country, but no. Knowing Aberdeen this will be the one that is chosen.
alan dunlop
#7 Posted by alan dunlop on 19 Oct 2011 at 09:40 AM
Project 03 seems to be the most thought through proposal but is it any better than the Brisac Gonzalez proposal, don't think so? 01 will catch the public imagination of course, with the most dynamic compter generated image but the least realisible proposal for the reasons Jamie has just touched on. Also the edge barrier condition for all the ramps does not seem to have been thought through. Can't be a minimal glass balustrade but to show anything other than that will destroy the image.
alan dunlop
#8 Posted by alan dunlop on 19 Oct 2011 at 09:51 AM
06 is just utterly bizarre, frankly. A borg space ship indeed and in f+ck off granite.
loljk
#9 Posted by loljk on 19 Oct 2011 at 10:30 AM
#1 is seductive but I agree - in reality it will not even come close to the images. I like #2, a winter garden is a good idea in a country where the summer is a week long...
Imogen Nation
#10 Posted by Imogen Nation on 19 Oct 2011 at 14:23 PM
Are site plans too old fashioned these days?

The diller-scofidio-renfro images are undoubtedly eyecatching, but just a tired rehash of 1960s logan's run style urbanism that's run its course, and proven itself to be completely anti-urban and anti-people, although the streets in the sky do make for excellent dog faeces collectors, and offer superb mugging opportunities. Perhaps these qualities will sway the judges?

Nice Fosters greenhouse.

The snoskins interior image tells us nothing about the public spaces.

The GP image is pretty, but isn't there a garden with floral landscaping here already?

Mecanoo's image is boring.

West 8's megastructure lacks the grace and human scale of a borg cube, which should have ruled this entry out of the shortlist already.

Maybe we could see some site plans and sections to allow a better understanding of how these design proposals are supposed to improve this site? Or is that too much to ask of the judges?

PS - anonymous my @(c)
Jaco Justice
#11 Posted by Jaco Justice on 19 Oct 2011 at 21:16 PM
Surprised scheme 2 didn't just go the whole hog.. http://www.builth-hs.co.uk/images/library/painting/skater.jpg
alan dunlop
#12 Posted by alan dunlop on 19 Oct 2011 at 21:38 PM
scott sutherland students masters students at exhibition filmed by STV and support for Brisac Gonzalez http://news.stv.tv/scotland/north/275302-public-invited-to-see-union-terrace-gardens-plans/
Sage
#13 Posted by Sage on 21 Oct 2011 at 13:41 PM
Dunlop : "01 will catch the public imagination of course, with the most dynamic compter generated image"

Oh do please get off your high horse Mr Dunlop - STILL banging on about CGi vs your cartoons???

CGI is more realistic and is in COLOUR, in comparison to your abstract B+W sketches that make everything look like they are from 1974.

Don't knock others just because you can't keep up with the times.

PS Please refer to your copy of "modesty for dummies", and also tone down your language.
ANON
#14 Posted by ANON on 21 Oct 2011 at 14:56 PM
Well said sgae. We have managed to outsource our client presentation material to India and our technicians are able to use the SketchUp programme to do the 3D work. Thsi has meant we can compete better for jobs!!!!!!!1
NONA
#15 Posted by NONA on 21 Oct 2011 at 16:12 PM

Well said ANON. We have managed to outsource our handrawn presentation material to India and our technicians are able to use crayons to do crucial 1D work. This has meant we can compete better for burger king jobs!!!!!!!
Mr I Wood
#16 Posted by Mr I Wood on 21 Oct 2011 at 16:17 PM
Oh good, scheme 6 has included my new HQ.
ANON
#17 Posted by ANON on 21 Oct 2011 at 16:55 PM
#NONA We do not work on burger king and outsourcing our drawing work has meant that we have become VERY competative for jobs and our architects don't ned to draw and so are able to focus on delivery and cost saving for the client. Also out rechnicians are talented and do not use crauons but if they did at least they could colour!!!!!!!
ANON
#18 Posted by ANON on 21 Oct 2011 at 17:01 PM
ps apologies for iphone spelling!
NONA
#19 Posted by NONA on 21 Oct 2011 at 17:45 PM
I agree ANON, architects must win this race to the bottom at all possible costs, we have nothing to loose.

Apologies for Blackberry logic failure.
Jacqui Russell
#20 Posted by Jacqui Russell on 21 Oct 2011 at 23:17 PM
Ian wood is a big enough name in Aberdeen already, if he has £50M to spend on something like UTG then why doesn't he give it to Somalia where according to the news 30,000 children have died already. This would be far more humane than turning UTG into a folly!
ANON
#21 Posted by ANON on 22 Oct 2011 at 09:11 AM
It may be a race to the bottom but at least we will still be in the race. Like #13 sage comments technology and the use of the computer to create realistic presentation work in colur means that not as many architects have to be employed as before and therefore overheads and other costs can be reduced and we can stay competative.
jay
#22 Posted by jay on 22 Oct 2011 at 14:44 PM
a good drawing is good wether its by hand or by computer. dinnae blame the tool, blame the workman. LOL @ NONA/ ANON.
Sage
#23 Posted by Sage on 24 Oct 2011 at 10:14 AM
Dunlop you are a sad man with toom much time on your hands.

Go play with your HBs.
Alan Dunlop
#24 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 24 Oct 2011 at 10:30 AM
Actually "sage" I've never been happier or more productive or content.

I've no idea what your beef is or why you want to hide but that's absolutely up to you of course. I take it you want be interested in my forthcoming exhibition on my projects and drawings in HAL. No computer but plenty of colour.
S.Freud
#25 Posted by S.Freud on 24 Oct 2011 at 10:44 AM
mmmmmm....sounds like pencil envy to me, Al
Alan Dunlop
#26 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 24 Oct 2011 at 11:20 AM
Could be but I think it's more of a spinal problem myself Sigmund.
Sean G
#27 Posted by Sean G on 24 Oct 2011 at 21:09 PM
Scheme 2 looks believable and reasonably well considered. Although, I really like the view of scheme 3 looking back towards Union Street but then I'm not sold on anything else within the scheme.

I think the Peacock Scheme would have had a similar regenerating effect for less money and it would have delivered a home for regional and international art.

The whole idea is ill conceived.

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