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Dundee City Square improvements get underway

February 5 2013

Dundee City Square improvements get underway
Work to overhaul Dundee City Square is currently underway with the implementation of a £2.2m scheme to overhaul the existing public space with new paving, soft landscaping, lighting and drainage.

The new look square has been designed in-house by Dundee City Council’s City Development Department and is being delivered by Tayside Contracts and Kilmac Construction.

They will install a new electrical and water supply and replace existing lamp posts with wall mounted lighting, together with replacement steps and ramp to Caird Hall.

Completion is scheduled for mid-June.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's City Dev Committee said, "City Square has always been a gathering place and with these improvements it will be able to provide upgraded facilities for market stalls which can be used at events such as the successful monthly Farmers' Market.

"As well as the environmental improvements the important nature of these works will also safeguard the square for future generations through improved drainage and work on waterproofing the roof of the underground garage."

Dundee’s rapid progression of its square refurbishment differs wildly from the experience of Glasgow.


Art Vandelay
#1 Posted by Art Vandelay on 5 Feb 2013 at 16:55 PM
Is that image for real? I've played Spectrum games with better visuals.

The quality of images on here (although obviously not UR's fault) is downright embarrassing - for every Alan Dunlop sketch, we have six or seven of these.
Partick Bateman
#2 Posted by Partick Bateman on 5 Feb 2013 at 16:55 PM
Not the most inspiring design to put it mildly...
Ban Sketchup
#3 Posted by Ban Sketchup on 5 Feb 2013 at 17:32 PM
Oh no, design by Sketchup... Wonder if the paving will be orentated as shown?
Art Vandelay
#4 Posted by Art Vandelay on 6 Feb 2013 at 08:45 AM
Sketchup? Looks like someone with some pretty exciting MS Paint skills whipped this one up.
#5 Posted by Neil on 6 Feb 2013 at 09:03 AM
"The new look square has been designed in-house by Dundee City Council’s City Development Department".
For all the (many, many) flaws in Glasgow City Council's George Square fiasco, at the very least they recognised the need to get external design firms involved to produce something commensurate with the importance of the space concerned. This is just embarrassing.
#6 Posted by everchange on 6 Feb 2013 at 10:08 AM
Glasgow City Council's design department is now designing the revamped George Square - they have some decent architects in their department at the moment so hopefully they will do a good job on it
boaby wan
#7 Posted by boaby wan on 6 Feb 2013 at 11:19 AM
can we have your credentials please Neil to validate that comment?
As (shockingly) bad as that image is, and as seemingly uninspired as the design is - maybe this is the approach glasgow could have gone for in the first place, i.e. repaving, improving drainage etc to make it usable public space first before any major changes - rather than the competition to boost a politicians ego (and cost everyone else involved time and money)
#8 Posted by Neil on 6 Feb 2013 at 12:41 PM
Hi Boaby Wan, what credentials in particular are you after? Why do you need to validate my comment? Like all the others on this site it's merely an opinion - in this case, that local authority development/property services departments are all too often under-resourced and too de-skilled to undertake major civic projects by themselves. Which I think in itself is deeply regrettable - would much rather have a return to a system of well-resourced and respected burgh/county architects' offices with strong design leadership, but unfortunately I can't see that happening in the current climate of cost-cutting, privatisation and outsourcing.
boaby wan
#9 Posted by boaby wan on 6 Feb 2013 at 12:57 PM
so not the same neil posting on the dunlop thread then?
I would say in the current climate there are more and more decent architects taking positions in the la offices, but that's only from my personal experience in knowing some that have taken la jobs... on the face of it, I don't think the above project would count as a "major civic project" either, but maybe that's just me
#10 Posted by J on 6 Feb 2013 at 13:08 PM
I work in private architectural practice and when i first started i used to be critical of the 'cooncil' architecture departments across scotland. Nowadays this is not that case, there are many great architects working in local authorities making good buildings and spaces, you only have to look at each RIAS chapter's awards to see that. We need to get away from making immature sweeping comments on websites like this after taking a quick look at one image.

Agreed the image shown isn't the best and we would all like the think we could do better (and in a lot of cases could), but urban realm is slowly becoming a site that is discouraging anyone from submitting drawings or images to.

Constructive criticism and praise where it is due yes; silly 'i'm-so-funny-and-clever' rants keep them to yourself please. The world and internet is overcrowded with needlessly harsh words.
#11 Posted by Neil on 6 Feb 2013 at 14:13 PM
@Boaby Wan - no, different Neil. Suspect I might need a more distinctive screen name to avoid mistaken identity...

I speak as an architect currently in private practice but with stint working for a local authority under my belt. There there were indeed some good architects there, although almost all on short-term contracts and vastly outnumbered by technicians - what was clearly lacking was continuity and design leadership. If as you suggest more and more decent architects are returning to LA jobs that can only be a good thing, but the issue of resourcing and leadership needs to be addressed if LA offices are to build and retain a culture of good design.

I'll admit major civic project is a bit of a stretch in this case (although certainly not in the case of George Square), but the status of the job does depend on the priority and resources given to it - the rather dismal visual doesn't give a great impression in this respect. Hopefully it's misleading.
#12 Posted by Jimbo on 6 Feb 2013 at 14:35 PM
Well said, J. Sad to see folk sticking the boot straight into the design seemingly primarily on the basis that it's been prepared by a Local Authority design department. A glitzy artist's impression style graphic doesn't automatically result in a ‘good’ design (whatever the hell that is!) and vice-versa! The soft landscaping and planting is a welcome addition, as is the apparent removal of an odd looking entrance to a disused underground toilet (I think that's what it is / was anyway). Looks like the sides of the square will be better used than the current set up, and now that I think about it (even having lived in Dundee for four years and knowing the square reasonably well I'd link to think) the access ramp to Caird Hall will be a welcome addition. Looking forward to checking it out when it’s done. Good work Dundee City Council, keep it up.
Partick Bateman
#13 Posted by Partick Bateman on 6 Feb 2013 at 14:49 PM
My opinion has nothing to do with who is behind the design, only the design itself. If people don't like being criticised for work like this, then dont produce it.
Art Vandelay
#14 Posted by Art Vandelay on 6 Feb 2013 at 15:25 PM
I agree with Patrick. Nothing to do with who's produced the image (or the design). Regarding the latter, the aspirations don't really contain much to get upset about - sounds like a bit of a facelift and some servicing improvements - fine.

That said, the actual detail of the design appears woeful - if the image above is representative of the quality of space Dundee are trying to achieve, then they could be in bother. No matter what thought (or lack of) went into the design, if that's the image that is supposed to lead to an informed critique, then how can we be expected to comment on anything other than how bad it is?

There's nothing in that image to suggest that any thought or inspiration - in fact, any design, full stop - has been involved. Of course, it may all turn out well (I hope it does), but they're hardly selling the scheme...

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