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RGU student wins civic architecture award for Torry tower

November 3 2015

RGU student wins civic architecture award for Torry tower
A fourth year student at Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment has been awarded the City of Aberdeen Medal for Civic Architecture for his plans for a landmark tower in Torry.

Daniel Whitelaw responded to this year’s brief with a mixed use multi-storey building on a brown field site, hosting sheltered flats, a medical centre, a police station and a supermarket.

Whitelaw commented: “I decided that a better visual link needed to be made between the city centre of Aberdeen and Victoria Road so as to draw more people into Torry and help improve the retail of the area in general. I decided that the best approach to doing this was by building tall.

“I created a 10 storey section that had a cultural centre at the top to utilise the views from the top of the building. This space could also be hired out as a luxury space for events. The second part to the design was to create a break along Victoria Road itself, to create a better public space and provide an enticing entrance to the pathway at the back.”

Conrad Wiedermann, stage 3 architecture design studio leader added: "The award for the scheme by the Council was well deserved and shows that the planning department is interested to see innovative solutions to the problems the city and especially Torry is facing.”

Sophie Perrot, James Dalley and Calum Ward received certificates of commendations for their proposals.
The tower aims to form a visual link with the rest of the city
The tower aims to form a visual link with the rest of the city
Whitelaw's design stood out
Whitelaw's design stood out


#1 Posted by concreate on 3 Nov 2015 at 11:03 AM
Daniel, meet Big Chantelle; Big Chantelle - Daneil..
The Bairn
#2 Posted by The Bairn on 3 Nov 2015 at 11:41 AM
...and expect a phone call from Halliday Fraser Munro sometime soon...
Fitz Hat
#3 Posted by Fitz Hat on 3 Nov 2015 at 11:59 AM
Waitrose in Torry? Would they sell organic artisan rowies?
#4 Posted by Gringo on 3 Nov 2015 at 12:13 PM
2001 phoned- it wants its renders, and flock of seagulls back!
#5 Posted by RJB on 3 Nov 2015 at 13:02 PM
I quite like it.
The elevations to the tower though is pretty tired, something other than the copy and repeat approach would have been interesting
#6 Posted by loon-fae-thi-toon on 3 Nov 2015 at 13:14 PM
they're pulling down high rise everywhere in Scotland and this wins a architects 'get' the real world? great doo or gull roost though!
#7 Posted by Alf on 3 Nov 2015 at 15:21 PM
This looks like an abandoned training tower for a fire station.
#8 Posted by Foggyday on 3 Nov 2015 at 15:36 PM
The standard of fourth year students in some other architecture schools in Scotland is light years ahead what is considered 'award winning' here. Very bland and very little thought appears to have been shown.
#9 Posted by Neil on 3 Nov 2015 at 20:35 PM
I think the massing model probably is quite good - if you sketched over the first image adding different detailing, fenestration etc. it could probably work. A tall thin tower for the reasons given makes sense but the images make it look like an insitu concrete frame with no finishes.
Johnston lyell architect
#10 Posted by Johnston lyell architect on 3 Nov 2015 at 21:02 PM
If you look at the three dimensional I like the way it ties in with the streetscape along with the tower block statement. A good and sensative solution from a third student.
D to the R
#11 Posted by D to the R on 3 Nov 2015 at 22:02 PM
@9 .... Snow in-situ - it's pure Zumthor style minimalist innit .... S'Whit Torry residents av been beggin' fur - know?
#12 Posted by Fraser on 3 Nov 2015 at 22:30 PM
I would say that the massing is fine, comparing this to high rise developments that are currently being pulled down I would reason unfair; these images really only denote a rather slender building of modest height, the proportionality is not comparable. I actually like this, however I think the materiality would be key, and from the images it look like the scheme is a little too constrained, especially considering the bold massing.
Andy Broon
#13 Posted by Andy Broon on 4 Nov 2015 at 07:34 AM
But this award is given by aberdeen city council to one of the third year students at scott sutherland school every year so it's not really news because one their student would have got it anyway !
#14 Posted by Stephen on 4 Nov 2015 at 09:00 AM
My honest (hopefully constructive) opinion:
1. Quite like the pencil-tower typology. No fundamental issue with high-rise (like #6) and could well be appropriate here.
2. You'd struggle to make it stack up financially in Tokyo, let alone Torry.
3. The renders could do with another day in photoshop. Add some detail as already suggested.
4. Materials leave a lot to be desired. Incredibly stark if it's just grey stone or concrete!
5. Not sure what the terraced 2.5 storey block at the base is. Is that part of the scheme? Very odd if so.
6. The top floor loggia shows little in common with the rest of the tower (and the function isn't clear if it's just a covered deck) but otherwise I quite like the classically inspired base, mid-section and top/attic and the string courses. Would like to see an expansion of the tectonic approach.
7. Impossible to really judge without plans.

Decent effort but other schools are way ahead if this is the best in 4th year (although assume a great deal of other production was submitted alongside these images).

Sent from my iVory Tower.
#15 Posted by Tam on 4 Nov 2015 at 14:16 PM
Looks like my previous deduction was sound

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