Aberdeen City Garden Trust has announced Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) as winner of the international design competition that will transform the center of Aberdeen. Diller Scofidio + Renfro is a New York City-based interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. The company has performed over hundred other interdisciplinary design projects all over the world. And Aberdeen City Garden is their first major win in a European design competition.
The £140m City Garden Project will radically transform a strategic central location, raising the nineteenth-century Union Terrace Gardens and covering over the unattractive Denburn dual carriageway and railway line.
It will create a space that draws on Aberdeen’s heritage but is also an inspiration for the future. A space which local people like, which they use to meet up and pop through – just for the pleasure of it. A space which appeals to visitors as somewhere to take the air, absorb different aspects of the local culture and enjoy a fascinating skyline.
The site, six hectares in area, will provide a safe, all-year round, civic garden that reflects Aberdeen’s success and international status. It should integrate the Union Street retail and business thoroughfare with the cultural attractions of an existing theatre and art gallery whilst providing the context for a new contemporary arts centre.
It’s an opportunity to create a new dynamic – re-connecting and revitalising different areas of the city.
The new heart of Aberdeen
The Aberdeen City Garden will fuse Nature and Culture into a vital social network at the heart of the city. Rejecting the classical model of the cultural building isoiated on the green, the Garden extends the surrounding urban fabric as an elastic web of 3-dimensional interconnections across its site. The warp and weft of urban lines support both park and cultural activities within a resilient fabric of layered programs, conjoining history with the contemporary and the urbane with the pastoral. Stretching across the historic river site, this parkland web is permeable, revealing a multi-tiered archeology while connecting to the city's emergent future as a technological hub for art, performance, leisure and commerce.
Connectivity and placemaking
A new 3-dimension al Web of pathways through the site emerges from the fabric of the city, drawing it together while revealing its history. it stitches together the pedestrian fabric from Union Terrace across the park. over Denburn Road and through to Belmont Street. Springing from the energy of existing streets, lanes and monuments. the Garden's tendons arch gently out of the ground to sculpturally deﬁne the parkland areas above and the spaces of exhibitions. education. events and performance in the built strata below, A tapestry oi planted and program med microclimates creates natural gradients from quiet hang outs to meadows for large gatherings. Shearing between pathways and planted surfaces of the landscape reveals its complex interrelationship with the spaces of cultural activity, flooding exhibition halls below with daylight. and drawing clerestorv views of the historic context into the interior and exhibiting activities unexpectedly to the street. Three distinctive places define the park: south by the Union Street Bridge, the Brae, a high hillock with a planted multi-level overlook and hang-out: in the central Garden. the Butterfly, a soaring public entrance to the Cultural Centre from Union Terrace and Belmont Street; and to the north the Forum, combining the existing green bowl with meadow terracing down to a lower bandshell. Across the site, the rising and falling topographies frame views ol the Triple Kirks, Aberdeen Art Gallery, His Majesty's Theatre, and St. Mark's Church. Hotic ulturally. the park registers the native character ol Aberdeen's...