Aberdeen City Gardens

Scotland, United Kingdom

Architecture, Landscape

Status: Design
Project Design: 2011
Address: Aberdeen, Union Terrace Gardens, Scotland
Client: Aberdeen City Council

Programme: 4 hectare public gardens, 8.000m2 contemporary arts programme, conference facilities and parking.

Aberdeen City Gardens is transformed into a spectacular urban auditorium. To address a shortage of green space in the city centre, the design proposes a doubling of the landscape area.

This integrates part of the rich, urban fabric into the gardens, enabling urban functions to interact with one another. The design gives a distinctive identity to Aberdeen City Gardens, which contains various functions and atmospheres. The outdoor space has a concentric arrangement to optimise existing landscape features.

A section of the gardens is elevated to seamlessly connect with the surrounding streets, rendering it accessible for prams and wheelchairs. Encircling a central open field, these densely planted gardens also provide outdoor space for the semi-basement Public Arts Centre, which emerges just above street level.

Various small gardens are located on the east side of the gardens, including playgrounds, a water theatre and bar with terraces. A continuous floral motif winds its way through the gardens.

Appearing in different forms, this decorative layer provides cohesion to the whole scheme, connecting the different elements. It changes from a path to a square, park bench, amphitheatre, knoll, terrace, to a playground.

At one point, the motif curls to fashion a series of private seats, and elsewhere its stretches to form a large outdoor surface suitable for hosting events. Encouraging unexpected encounters, the resulting connections and social spaces offer little surprises to discover throughout the gardens.

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