Union Terrace Gardens Improvement Proposals, Denburn Valley Building, Park, Architect, Design, Plans, Image

Union Terrace Gardens Renewal Proposals

Aberdeen City Centre Park Renewal + Public Realm Impovements, Scotland – by LDA Design

28 Mar 2018

Union Terrace Gardens Transformation Approval

Unanimous approval for LDA Design’s revamp of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens

The transformation of Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) is set to start later this year after the detailed planning application was unanimously approved today by Aberdeen City Council’s Planning Development Management Committee.

Rosemount Plaza:
Union Terrace Gardens Transformation Rosemount Plaza Aberdeen

A contractor will now be appointed, with work expected to commence in the autumn. The target completion date is summer 2020 at the latest.

View looking East across the Northern part of the gardens, at street level:
Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens Latest Proposal by LDA
images Courtesy LDA

LDA Design’s plans respect the unique character of the Gardens, at the same time making the space more usable, improving accessibility and creating a place to relax and enjoy.

Access will be easier and the Gardens will feel safer with new lighting and new facilities, including a café and gallery space. Existing heritage is enhanced, including reinstating the ‘grand staircase’ into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct. The central lawn will be retained as a flexible space for large-scale events and gatherings.

LDA Design Project Director, Kirstin Taylor said: “We are delighted that the vision to transform Union Terrace Gardens into a safe and social all-year round destination has been approved by the Council. It’s a significant moment in Aberdeen’s history. We’re eager to see our designs take shape over the coming months, building on the 19th century heritage and great charm and beauty of the Gardens to create a revitalised asset for the city.”

Rosemount Viaduct:
Union Terrace Gardens Transformation Rosemount Viaduct Aberdeen

It is exactly one year since an outline application was backed in principle by Aberdeen City Council. Refinements were made to the scheme following advice from Historic Environment Scotland and other key stakeholders.

Planning Development Management Committee Convener Councillor Marie Boulton said: “I’m delighted that the detailed planning application for Union Terrace Gardens has been approved and that Aberdeen City Council can focus on the final step – preparing to start work on the ground.
“The design promises to transform the gardens into a usable, inclusive and dynamic space that will serve generations to come. It was a vision shaped by the people and one which everybody could unite behind.

“We need to bring this flagship City Centre Masterplan project to fruition as quickly as possible so that residents and visitors can fully enjoy Aberdeen’s special green heart. The regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens can drive the transformation of the whole city.”

LDA Design was appointed in autumn 2016 to develop plans based on the Masterplan vision. Feedback gathered during a public engagement exercise in December 2016 helped inform the detailed design.

24 Nov 2017

Union Terrace Gardens Transformation

Union Terrace Gardens Renewal Design

Transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens moves a step closer

Plans to transform Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens into a year-round favourite city destination continue to move forward as the City Council publishes an amendment to the current detailed planning application for further comment.

LDA Design’s imaginative revamp of Aberdeen’s sunken Victorian Gardens respects the unique character and history of this heart-of-the-city space, whilst aiming to make it more social and more usable. The scheme refinements are in response to representations made about the detailed planning application. LDA Design has also been liaising with Historic Environment Scotland on developing the scheme.

View looking South from Rosemount Gardens:
Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens Latest Proposal by LDA

Improved accessibility is key to the project’s success. The latest plans include a realignment of a proposed new walkway, linking Union Street to the Gardens. This will reduce the potential impact on any future development of the adjacent railway line. Steps have also been taken to provide further protection of the views and setting of the Robert Burns and Edward VII statues, with changes to the massing and design of the proposed buildings improving their relationship with existing heritage assets.

Burns Pavilion, looking South East across the middle part of the gardens, at street level::
Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens Latest Proposal by LDA

Director, Kirstin Taylor, who is leading the project out of LDA Design’s Glasgow office, is delighted with the progress:

“There’s so much beauty and charm in the Gardens. These amended plans get us even closer to capturing this and enhancing the existing heritage, enabling us to better balance traditional park enjoyment with new ideas and uses.

“We are working closely with all parties to make sure Union Terrace Gardens is a wonderful asset for Aberdeen for generations to come, a place where people belong.”

Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens Latest Proposals by LDA

The amendment ensures the agreed six key design principles continue to be met: A preserved and enhanced green space; new and improved facilities; celebrating the heritage; creation of flexible events spaces; accessible Gardens for all; a safe and active space.

Aberdeen City Council will notify neighbours and stakeholders about the amendment.

LDA Design

7 May 2017

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen New Proposals

Union Terrace Gardens Design

Final designs for a £20 million revamp of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens have been submitted.

Back in 2012 a design by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro with landscape architects OLIN won an international competition – see image below:

Union Terrace Gardens
image of previous design by DS+R / Olin

Controversy has hung around this site for decades so it was little surprise the bold contest-winning proposal did not proceed.

In September 2016 LDA Design were unveiled as the new torch bearers.

Part of the city centre masterplan the scheme follows on from a public consultation from December 2016 which will see plans drawn up by LDA Design delivered in their proposed form.

A large majority of the 1,416 who gave their views on the plans were positive, meaning no significant changes have been made.

If the latest plan wins the final all clear from councilors work could proceed from autumn 2019.

Council leader Jenny Laing said: “We are absolutely delighted to be at this stage with the designs finalised.

Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens renewal design by LDA
image Courtesy LDA

The Union Terrace Gardens proposals were drawn up by LDA Design and aim to conserve the Victorian park’s heritage.

New entrance buildings, cafes, a gallery area, lift access and events spaces are just some of the features included.

Also in the designs are an accessible walkway into the gardens from Union Street and lift access into the lower level through a new entrance building which would provide an activity hub that overlooks the gardens.

The plans would see the central lawn area kept for large-scale gatherings, along with a new entrance plaza opposite His Majesty’s Theatre for smaller events.

Cafes and a gallery could be created opposite the theatre at the Burns Monument on Union Terrace and within the existing arches.

A major new halo-shaped lighting installation suspended over the grass area is also in the plans.

7 + 2 Dec 2016
Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens Proposals by LDA

Aberdeen City Council have launched a public engagement exercise for their latest plans for Union Terrace Gardens, the latest evolution in a long line of proposals for the city centre park.

Prepared by landscape design specialists LDA the £20m plan includes an elevated walkway plugging into Union Street to improve disabled access and transformation of the central lawn into a flexible events space.

Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens design by LDA
image Courtesy LDA

Further interventions include a café and entrance plaza opposite His Majesty’s Theatre and reinstatement of a staircase rising to Union Street. Separate lift access will also be installed to whisk people to the upper terrace.

Aberdeen City Council leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, commented: “These proposals respect the unique character of the Gardens while making the space more usable for all. I would urge all residents to share their views so the LDA can refine the design and ensure we get the best result for everyone.”

LDA have sought to retain as many trees as possible following their interventions, which will include a ‘rich’ new planting scheme.

Local residents have until 9 December to offer their feedback on the proposals.

13 Sep 2016

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen Proposals

Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens Improvement Proposals

September 12th, 2016 – Aberdeen City Council has announced that LDA Design has been chosen to draw up detailed design proposals for Union Terrace Gardens in their city centre.

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing reports that the consultancy had faced fierce competition from nearly a dozen leading design practitioners. “LDA Design has a world-class reputation as the team behind high quality, iconic projects that demonstrate both innovation and respect for heritage.”

View looking south down over the gardens, railway track on the left (and spire of former ‘Triple Kirks’ building):
Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen park

The Denburn Valley provides the Victorian Union Terrace Gardens with a unique and dramatic topography. The park is part of the City Centre Masterplan which envisages ways to improve the park while showcasing its best characteristics. City Council deputy leader Councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, describes the Masterplan as a wonderful blueprint with the backing of residents and the business community.

Better access to the park could involve the provision of lifts, ramps and new steps, and amenity and activity could be improved with multi-purpose space to allow year-round events, and use of the historic arches for retail, refreshments and artists’ studios.

Proposal for the arches area:
Union Terrace Gardens arches regeneration by LDA Design 2016

LDA Design will continue the process of engaging with the public and key stakeholders. Feedback on proposals is expected to be gathered towards the end of 2016, with detailed plans scheduled to go before the Council for consideration in early 2017.

LDA Design has successfully delivered long term management plans for over 50 parks and green spaces throughout the UK and overseas, giving them new life and helping them to anchor place. Most have strong historic contexts. Board Director Neil Mattinson observes that in order for them to flourish, redevelopment and reinterpretation has to be both sensitive and purposeful.

current park landscape, looking towards the south with arches in distance:
Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen park landscape

Most of these spaces are also similar to Union Terrace Gardens in that they have been championed by passionate people who promote their cause in their community. “Creating a sociable place is never a one-off,” says Neil Mattinson. “Every place needs to be programmed, to keep it alive and to maximise its value.”

The Union Terrace Gardens regeneration project will be led from LDA Design’s Glasgow office. Project Director Kirstin Taylor admires the great beauty and charm of the Gardens. “They can be revitalised in a way that completely respects and enhances their 19th century heritage. Traditional park enjoyment can be balanced alongside new ideas and uses.”

Union Terrace Gardens Improvement Proposals images / infromation from LDA Design

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen Park – 9 Jun 2016 – excerpt below

9 Jun 2016

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen Improvement

Union Terrace Gardens Improvement Proposals

Here we go again, yet another attempt to improve this area.

After huge controversy back in 2010, and reaching a peak in 2012, the city council is taking the plunge again!

The sunken central area and concealed arches along the western perimeter still need ‘fixing’ despite years of proposals. Sadly the area can be dangerous especially at night, witness a recent sex attack in the arches, March 2016.

Editor, architect Adrian Welch.

Architects invited to redesign Union Terrace Gardens in Abrdeen City Centre

Aberdeen City Council is to invite firms to draw up a design and delivery plan for enhancing the city’s Union Terrace Gardens.

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen design proposal

The council’s finance, policy and resources committee agreed to call in specialists to carry out the design work for the Victorian park in the Denburn Valley including the provision of an amphitheatre to allow year-round events and using the historic arches for retail, food and drink, and artists’ studios.

The committee also approved a proposal to explore options for improving public realm space in Golden Square and on Schoolhill in the public space outside Robert Gordon’s College.

Preliminary ideas for UTG drawn up by the consultants who produced the CCMP included:

Sculptural focus viewed from Union Street to reflect light.
Create retail units and arts studios within the historic arches.
Retain floral crest and refurbish stepped link.
Amphitheatre to allow year round events with Aberdeen constellation lighting feature.
Pedestrian bridge link that connects Belmont Street with viewing towers and stairs / lifts down to garden level and visible from Union Street.
Curving route (from the proposed bridge) hugs the slope and links Union Terrace to the amphitheatre without steps.
Link building to service events / furniture storage. Potential for lift link connecting street level to gardens.
Reveal hidden watercourse – opens up Denburn to improve biodiversity.
Refurbish existing Victorian toilets. Potential for lift link connecting street level to gardens.

Previously on e-architect:

Union Terrace Gardens Proposals – 30 Aug 2013

Aberdeen City Garden – winning proposal from north:
Union Terrace Gardens
image of winning design

Aberdeen City Garden Design
image of winning design Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Design by US architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Union Terrace Gardens
image of winning design

Union Terrace Gardens
image of winning design

Runner-up concept: Foster + Partners

Union Terrace Gardens
image of winning design

Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The Broad Art Foundation
image from Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Keppie Design

Union Terrace Gardens Centre Aberdeen : Peacock Visual Arts – 26 Jul 2013
Peacock Visual Arts Centre Aberdeen
image from architects

18 Oct 2011

Aberdeen City Garden – Designs

Designs to Transform Aberdeen City Centre Unveiled
Short-listed design teams in the International Design Competition for the City Garden Project place models and visuals on show. The eagerly-awaited concept designs for the City Garden Project.

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 1 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 1 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 2 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 2 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 3 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 3 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 4 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 4 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 5 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 5 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Team 6 proposal:
Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens Union Terrace Gardens
image of Team 6 proposal

Aberdeen City Garden – Shortlisted Architects

Diller + Scofidio + Renfro / Keppie Design

Foster + Partners / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture

Snøhetta / Gareth Hoskins Architects

Gustafson Porter / Niall McLaughlin Architects

Mecanoo architecten / Cooper Cromar

West 8 urban design & landscape architecture

Aberdeen City Garden Design Competition

Aberdeen City Garden Designs : background to the competition
Union Terrace Gardens
Union Terrace Gardens Proposals images from RG

Views on the Union Terrace Gardens plans welcome

Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen – overview, 30 Aug 2013

Location: Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen, North East Scotland

Aberdeen Architecture

Aberdeen Architecture Designs – chronological list

Union Square Aberdeen development


Union Street Hotel Aberdeen

Union Terrace Gardens Arts Building design : Brisac Gonzalez Architects

Marischal College Building by Holmes

Comments / photos for the Aberdeen City GardenUnion Terrace Gardens page welcome

Website: Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen Proposals – LDA release