Sir Duncan Rice to Chair Jury for City Garden Design Competition

The former principal of the University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice, will chair the jury panel for the City Garden Project international design competition.
The project proposes a radical transformation of a strategic part of central Aberdeen adjacent to the historic thoroughfare of Union Street. It will provide a vibrant, green focal point by raising the inaccessible, under-used Union Terrace Gardens and cover-over the unattractive Denburn dual carriageway and nearby railway line.
The City Garden project aims to create new green gardens and landscaping, a civic space for outdoor events, a new cultural centre, a café quarter, and new links with the bus and railway stations as well as improving street level access from areas of the city that are at present cut-off.
A respected academic, with experience and interest in history and the arts, Sir Duncan has already been involved in an international design competition for the university’s new £57 million library – an iconic building that reinforces the city’s reputation as a place of research, learning and teaching.
As chairman of the jury, Sir Duncan will lead the jury’s discussions, balancing the views of all parties to firstly select a shortlist of between five and seven design teams in July and then to select a winning design in December.
The jury is made up of the leader of Aberdeen City Council, John Stewart, Sir Ian Wood, Tom Smith, chairman of ACSEF, cities guru on urban regeneration, Charles Landry and Lavina Massie chair of Aberdeen Civic Forum and the Aberdeen City Alliance.

The jury will be advised by Malcolm Reading and a technical panel comprising Aberdeen City Council representatives and experts in engineering, project management, quantity surveying and design. This panel will provide a peer review of the designs and evaluate the deliverability of the designs.
Commenting on his role, Sir Duncan said: “It's a great compliment to be asked to take on work of this importance for the city. I'm determined to lead the jury in finding a design for the future which honours our history. It also has to be so self-evidently beautiful that it will unite the city community in supporting the project, and at the same time attract international attention to Aberdeen.
A series of design quality workshops are being held with key stakeholders to develop the design brief and then evaluate the submissions against this brief.
This design stakeholder group, led by Lavina Massie, is made up of community members who have a direct interest in the project. Around 25 representatives from businesses in the location of the City Garden, planners, Nestrans, Aberdeen City Centre Association, potential users of the gardens and members of the community are taking part in the workshops.
The workshops are based on a proven “Design Quality Indicator” process used in the construction industry. They actively involve a wide group of people in the brief and the selection process and are facilitated by Jim Chapman, a panel member of both Architecture and Design Scotland and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
The international design competition is a two-stage contest. The first stage is aimed at attracting technically competent and professional teams from all over the world to register their interest in the project.
The shortlisted teams will then be given a comprehensive brief and asked to produce a concept design. These will be reviewed by a technical panel and a final jury will conduct interviews prior to a winner being announced.
A public exhibition of the shortlisted teams will be held in late September with the final design being announced in December 2011. The city council will then decide if the design is to be taken to the planning stage.

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