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Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Although it was the winning entry of an international competition and the office was selected to transform the center of Aberdeen, Scotland, High Line office Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s proposal for redevelopment of the nineteenth-century Terrace Gardens was recently rejected by the City Council in a 22-20 vote. The £140 m City Garden Project was aiming to radically transform the center, covering over the “unattractive” Denburn dual carriageway and railway line and fusing Nature and culture into a vital social network at the very heart of the city. New York City-based DS+R collaborated with local Scottish architects, Keppie Design and landscape architects OLIN on this project and were announced winners of a head-to-head race with another finalist team led by Foster + Partners. The competition shortlist included other international well-known offices Gustafson Porter, Mecanoo, Snøhetta & Hoskins, and West 8.

Re-investigating the classical model of cultural buildings isolated on the green, this unbuilt project knits the elastic web of three-dimensional interconnections across the site. The aim was to provide additional usable garden space, a landmark cultural and arts center, and to promote the City’s historic streets, revealing the arches, vaults and bridge on Union Street and retaining the balustrades and statues as part of Aberdeen’s legacy.

In the words of architects, the competition across the Atlantic drove them that much harder to do more research, to understand the site more thoroughly, to dig deeper into their creative reserve and technical expertise to find a daring, thoughtful and beautiful solution. Seen as a potential catalyst to regenerate the whole city’s center with significant economic impacts for the entire city and as a necessary transformational change, without which Aberdeen would struggle to meet the challenges it will inevitably face in the future, the proposal is rejected as not being financially viable for Aberdeen.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Aberdeen, Scotland, architectural competition, international competition, winning design, urban transformation, cultural facilities

 

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