International Design Competition for City Garden Project attracts record number of collaborations

The International Design Competition for the City Garden Project has attracted some of the leading lights of the architectural world. An impressive fifty-five submissions were received by the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants.

Over 70% of these are collaborative efforts, where award-winning international teams have joined forces with smaller practices and landscape architects.

Malcolm Reading said: “The submissions are of exceptional quality. The level of collaboration is the highest we have ever seen and reveals that many competitors appreciate that this project demands a comprehensive range of skill and expertise. Many of the teams are led by highly successful design practices, including a number of Stirling award winners and a Pritkzer Laureate. There is a particularly high involvement of Scottish firms in the teams and strong representation from the US and continental Europe.

“The project is an exciting but complex one, and it’s attracted a serious constituency. These are some of the most accomplished names in the architectural firmament.”

Following a selection of the short list later this month, the successful design teams will be issued with a design brief. The project proposes a radical transformation of a key part of central Aberdeen to create a focal point that will provide a safe all-year round garden and civic space, by raising the inaccessible, under-used Union Terrace Gardens to cover the unattractive Denburn dual carriageway and adjacent railway line.

Mr Reading added: “The design brief will underline that the site must be primarily a garden, a public space for Aberdeen.”

“The current gardens are under-performing as a public space. They are under-used and the changes in levels across the site are barriers to its use as a thoroughfare. The City Garden Project aims to make the site a vital place in the city. The gardens should be a destination with purpose, delivering a clearly defined green urban park with a cultural focus. The design must appeal to both residents and visitors of all ages and abilities offering something relevant for young people, families, students, young professionals, city centre workers, weekend leisure users, tourists and business visitors.

The expressions of interest are the first stage in this two-stage contest. These fifty five submissions will be reviewed and a short-list will be selected and asked to produce a design based on a comprehensive brief.

These designs will go on public display towards the end of September. They will be reviewed by the public and a technical panel. The jury will take account of the feedback and conduct interviews prior to a winner being announced.

The city council will then decide if the design is to be taken to the planning stage.

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