This is great news. Aberdeen should have …

Comment posted Aberdeen votes by narrow majority for video game ‘garden’ at Union Terrace by Graeme McCormick.

This is great news. Aberdeen should have a vibrant public realm given it’s massive economic advantage. Instead it is a provincial backwater with little modern architectural merit.

The key to the longterm success of this new square is how well it is maintained once it’s completed.

We have a poor record of maintaining our public works in Scotland. Let’s hope Aberdeen builds in a proper maintenance plan in the project

Recent comments by Graeme McCormick

  • Economic case for more national parks in Scotland – obstructed by Scottish Government
    I went to a stakeholder meeting sponsored by the NP two years ago. The officials were very proud of some projects which involved public grants over a long period.

    I asked them what review had been made to assess how this public money had increased the population to make the communities sustainable.

    There were blank faces and open mouths. No one had ever thought to link grant giving to population growth. Someone suggested I do the research for them.

    Scotland is one big national park. Why should the environment of someone in Shotts be treated with inferior planning regulations than my environment?
    Surely if ones natural environment is not as spectacular as some others then planning should ensure that the built environment be spectacular to compensate for the deficiencies of God Hand?

  • Where are the SNP minders in white coats?
    When Unionist politicians say that if SNP MPs vote in a certain way they are “trying to sabotage the democratic will of the British people” does that mean that in the eyes of the British Establishment a Scottish MPs vote is or should be of less value than the vote of an MP from England if those Scottish MPs votes produce a majority which is different from the vote of a majority of English MPs?
  • Economic case for more national parks in Scotland – obstructed by Scottish Government
    I think you should ask the folk who live in a national park what they think of it.

    It is the most undemocratic form of government in Scotland and in my experience acts against the economic and social interests of residents and does nothign effectively to prevent blots on the landscape. Just have alook at the large number of illegal permanent signs at Arden roundabout whuch it has failed to have removed.

    In Luss all communities groups and Luss Estate proposed a development plan to build around 40 family homes to encourage young families to live so that the school could be sustainable. Up to now the NP said that only tourist related accommodation was permitted.

    The Np were not interested when I offered to relocate my business to the Luss area which would have produced 20 well paid inobtrusive jobs and brought guaranteed income to the businesses in the village and help counter the depopulation.

    Depopulation is rife in the NP park of A & B.

    Give small local communities the power to control and develop their communities. They know more about what makes their communities tick and how best to let them flourish.

  • Isle of Coll gets 4G connectivity
    Another reason to visit this fabulous island.
  • Business opportunity in National Park flagship building at Loch Lomond Shores
    I seem to recall that x Labour Lird Provist did rather well out of the sale of the Lomond Shores site. Perhaps he could use it as a museum to the Labour Party. After May they’ll be plenty of dinosaurs to put in it.

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8 Responses to This is great news. Aberdeen should have …

  1. I think this is unfortunately evidence (again) that, in Aberdeen, money speaks louder than anything else. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
    It’s worth comparing this scheme, which completely overwhelms the gardens and utterly destroys their character, with the previous proposal by Brisac Gonzalez for the Peacock Visual Arts Centre, consisting of three levels of galleries and arts facilities inserted under the existing gardens terraces in much the same way that the National Gallery basement extension was inserted under the existing building on the Mound facing Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Diller Scofidio & Renfro are very good designers – who did a brilliant job in their High Line linear garden development of the old elevated freight railway bordering the Hudson in Manhattan – but they’ve been unable to work within, and respect, the character of Union Terrace Gardens.

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  2. Is Aberdeen in Argyll now?

    Let’s have more focus on what is happening – or not happening – on the Oban development front.

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  3. I have to agree with Webcraft here. It would appear that the citizens of Aberdeen, after a full consultation process, have been given the opportunity to express an opinion about the Gardens project.
    Contrast that with the “airy fairy” details available for the spending of a considerable sum of borrowewd money under the CHORD project in Oban on a scheme where information about what is proposed, costings, business plan (?) is not only denied to the general public but, it would appear, is only available in severely redacted format to those councillors who are not in the charmed Inner Circle. Yet again, what price democratic process in Argyll & Bute?

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  4. For Webcraft and Ken MacColl: It’s not an either or situation. We are of course looking into the situation with the Oban CHORD project and we are aware that access to the entire Interim Business Case has been denied.

    Anyone from outside the council has to accept that an Interin Business case actually exists and that it has been discussed. Not only is the public denied knowledge of the contents of this business case, it is not allowed to know what the conclusions of the discussion on it were.

    Moreover, the meeting was asked: ‘to recommend to the Programme Management Board that £1,840,000.00 be drawn down to allow the 1st phase of the project as detailed in the Interim Business case to be progressed, subject to the adjustments discussed for the traffic interchange proposals.

    This is a substantial sum of money to be drawn down with no public account of exactly what it is for – and to be drawn down on the basis of an ‘interim’ and not a final business case.

    The Oban CHORD project is a labyrinthine morass of indefensible practice and as such, working to undersitand it is a slow process akin to dissecting a rat.

    The Aberdeen division on the retention or radicalisation of Union Terrace Gardens raises issues of perspectives on planning for public spaces which are relevant anywhere.

    Helensburgh faces the vandalism of the classical lines of Colquhoun Square and for no good reason.

    Anyone who looks at the design approved for Union Terrace Gardens will see nothing organic but simply an overscale version of the short term concrete wows that were enacted in urban gardens back when garden makeovers where all the rage.

    This is a question of design for public spaces – and we are all affected by such matters wherever we live.

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    • Totally agree ‘.newsroom’.
      The Argyll Square roundabout in the centre of Oban was a beautiful ‘alive’ spectacle at one time, only to be vandalised with concrete, and token garden. Old pictures of the square are beautiful and vibrant, and any place considering ‘improvements’ should understand, when its gone its gone!
      The daft roundabout at Alexandria is another ugly waste of money surely.
      Whether its Aberdeen, Helensburgh or wherever a cool considered overview is a must and any local consultion must be given due prominence.

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  5. This is great news. Aberdeen should have a vibrant public realm given it’s massive economic advantage. Instead it is a provincial backwater with little modern architectural merit.

    The key to the longterm success of this new square is how well it is maintained once it’s completed.

    We have a poor record of maintaining our public works in Scotland. Let’s hope Aberdeen builds in a proper maintenance plan in the project

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Graeme – have a good look at what’s proposed – the open space, ‘the square’, disappears to be replaced by a series of carved up spaces separated by very substantial bits of building – a very expensive monument to Sir Ian Wood, undoubtedly – but really destructive of the character of this garden in the city.

      Aberdeen is not a ‘provincial backwater with little architectural merit’ – the city centre has suffered from bad planning that’s allowed traffic to dominate and has led to the main thoroughfare, Union Street, becoming very down at heel, and driven out much of the retail life. Jazzing up what could still be a haven from the rush and noise of the streets isn’t going to cure Aberdeen’s problems. In Manhattan Diller Scofidio & Renfro succeeded in part because they had to respect the strong form of the old railway viaduct, and designed the garden within it – whereas in Aberdeen they’ve been presented with an existing garden, but have completely destroyed its form in seeking to create something novel and revolutionary. The previous approved design created very substantial new space to bring more life and activity into the gardens, but without destroying their form. I just wonder if this was seen as a missed opportunity to create a massive impact on the city centre to the greater glory of Sir Ian Wood and the ‘city fathers’.

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  6. The current gardens are ugly and plagued with drug addicts. It is such a total waste of space and has no character whatsoever. The new scheme is modern and will have space for outdoor events, something else which Aberdeen is lacking. After the gardens, attention needs to be paid to Union Street. I think part of it should be pedestrianised like in other cities, this will also encourage tourism and draw people to spend more time on Union Street.

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