City Garden designs go on display

The six short-listed designs for the City Garden project in Aberdeen have gone on show today at the city’s Academy Shopping Centre.

The six finalists will be shown as a 3D model, along with images and design drawings. The designs can also be seen on the City Garden project Facebook page.

City Garden design
One of the six designs for the City Garden project

In a strange parallel with the 18th century, the city fathers of that era faced strong opposition to their proposal to build Union Street as a viaduct 30 feet above the Denburn Valley. Now the long-standing proposals to build a new public space over the same valley have polarised opinion in a similar way.

The idea of building a park over the valley is not new. In recent years the proposal was put forward in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s and most recently as a Millennium Project. On that occasion it failed to attract funding. The idea was kick started by Sir Ian Wood, with a generous offer to provide personal funding of £50 million for the project and a subsequent offer of a further £5 million from an anonymous donor.



An international design competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants has resulted in a short-list of six designs being put forward for further consultation. At the exhibition each entry uses a 3D model, images, design drawings and a design rationale to present their vision, concept and approach for the site.

“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,” says Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Consultants. “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.

The winning design and the TIF business case will be presented to Aberdeen City Council In December. The council will then decide if the project is to be taken to the planning stage.

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