Union Terrace Gardens improvement proposals, Denburn Valley building and park architect, UTG design plans image
Union Terrace Gardens Renewal Proposals by LDA
Aberdeen City Centre Park Renewal + Public Realm Improvements, Scotland by LDA Design
28 Mar 2018
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.
Union Terrace Gardens Transformation Approval
A contractor will now be appointed, with work expected to commence in the autumn. The target completion date is summer 2020 at the latest.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 / information 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 city centre 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.
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
Design by US architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Runner-up concept: Foster + Partners
Union Terrace Gardens Centre Aberdeen : Peacock Visual Arts – 26 Jul 2013
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 – Shortlisted Architects
Foster + Partners / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture
West 8 urban design & landscape architecture
Aberdeen City Garden Design Competition
Aberdeen City Garden Designs : background to the competition
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, Northeast Scotland
Aberdeen Architecture Designs – chronological list
Union Square Aberdeen development
Union Terrace Gardens Arts Building design : Brisac Gonzalez Architects
Marischal College Building by Holmes
Comments / photos for the Aberdeen City Garden – Union Terrace Gardens by LDA Design page welcome
Website: Union Terrace Gardens Aberdeen Proposals – LDA release