There must have been many who, like me, heaved a sigh of relief when Dandara promised to get the redevelopment of the Triple Kirks site, in the centre of Aberdeen, back on track. The ruins of the old church, looking for all the world like a decaying tooth, had blighted Aberdeen for too long.
Then came yet another hiccup in the long and tortuous road to redevelopment of this derelict site.
Dandara announced that – with the local commercial property market in an uncertain state following the oil price collapse – they had decided to plan student accommodation on the site instead.
Which brings us up to the present day and Dandara have released a drawing of the planned design (above).
Rather like my feelings about the Marischal Square development
, to my eye it looks like the sort of building you could put up in any city. Indeed, it would be not too bad on some sites in Aberdeen.
But, the Triple Kirks site is not just any site in Aberdeen. It is directly opposite the Cowdray Hall, the War Memorial and the Art Gallery. It is a prominent site just across the Denburn Valley from His Majesty’s Theatre, St Marks and the Central Library.
As with Marischal Square, this site surely deserves something iconic and creative?
At least the office building proposals had large areas of glass to reflect the magnificent 19th and early 20th century architecture of neighbouring buildings. As a result, even in the drawings, it managed to look less heavy and less brutal than its mass.
This, with its smaller windows and large areas of concrete looks hefty, almost industrial.
Surely we could do better, with a design that would be attractive, modern and distinctively Aberdeen?
We’ve waited long enough to get the Triple Kirks site redeveloped. Let’s wait a bit longer if we need to, to get a design that adds something attractive to our cityscape.