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

  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure

    I think you will find that over many years I have been arguing against the national planning framework which sees the cities as the drivers of our economy.

    As recently as last week I took part in a seminar on land reform encouraging a non bureaucratic way of repopulating rural areas by 500,000.

    I might live only 40 minutes from Glasgow but my village school is really struggling and depopulation particularly of the young family variety is not helped by planning policies which control rather than encourage local efforts.

    Tourism is often seen as the main provider of economic activity. It may have a part to play but why exclude other types of business?

    Connectivity both transport and Internet transform areas.

    As regards Gigha it will need support but why not ?. in proportionate terms the failure may be of greater significance to it than the collapse of the Banks was to the UK economy.

    Don’t be so sour and exclusive

  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    There is more than one way to effect land reform. Community ownership as currently modelled is not a universal way. It could never be in a democracy.

    There are bound to be failures or challenges. There are never absolutes.

    In a national sence we need to agree what we seek to achieve.

    If this rural re population then what is the strategy? Is the national planning framework overly dependent on our cities being the driver of our economy?

    Are we fighting against the tide of two hundred years which has encouraged the drift to urban living?

    Big questions which need to be debated especially where communication technology could provide the infrastructure to reverse the drift.

    How many people would want to live in rural Scotland if they had the opportunity , and how rural?

  • With her government team completed, how will Nicola Sturgeon’s set do the job?
    Don’t be so uncharitable. I suggest you read the Book of Revalation and observe
  • Swinney the perfect choice as Deputy First Minister
    Richard, why is Ireland paying less for interest on its debt than the UK?

    You are very economical with your size of the world. USA, UK and the EU.

    The answer is that despite the idea of a global economy there are several trends to be bucked and several countries doing it differently in the positive and negative way.

    In conversation with Rupert Soames two years ago (not a friend of Independence) he was fulsome in his praise of John Swinney.

    Nicola will not have made her commitments without John’s approval. That’s how they work.

    Immaginative use of the fiscal system can bring considerable revenue resources to the Scottish government to fund advances in childcare. Landowners are a sitting duck. Land value rental is on the horizon,much to the displeasure of Mr McGrigor no doubt, and a variation to inheritance rates and the conditions re the destination of bequests leaching funds from the Scottish economy are two examples or rich painless takings

  • Asset management company advice to Scottish savers, investors and pension pot-holders
    Why do so many successful business people support independence? Do you honestly think that they would choose Independence if they thought their business would be damaged?

    Is really be interested to know the considered answer to this question.

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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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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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