Mecanoo . Cooper Cromar . Ian White Landscape Architects

City Garden . Aberdeen

design team: Mecanoo . Cooper Cromar . Ian White Landscape Architects . Buro Happold . Davis Langdon (AECOM) . + Aberdeen City Garden

Aberdeen, the Granite City, deserves a green heart that is designed not only for the 21st century but for all time. The Aberdeen City Gardens are blessed with a truly rich and diverse context which can provide the setting for a spectacular piece of urban theatre. With one strong move we will double the size of the garden, tie tog et hera crucial piece of city fabricand createa sun-filled natural auditorium and international arts centre. A decorated grass arena, shaped by the natural topography, will play host to a multitude of events and uses; from private picnics to giant public performances, from frisbee games to art biennales. This single concentric space has the capacity to bring all the surrounding elements in to harmony and provide an iconic setting of world class status.

A single strong space offers the absolute maximum in programmatic flexibility. Relative to their area the gardens are expected to host a huge amount and variety of events and activities. Therefore the strategy is to overlay the programmatic demands on and under the singular space. The Public Arts Centre, which comprises both an art institution and conference and event facilities, elevates the western side of the gardens and forms an integral part of the overall space. The landscape of thegardenstoo is multifunctional and can be inhabited in countless ways. On a summer’s day one can drop in to soak up some sun, have a picnic or cuddle up with a loved one. ln the same space one can also be part of a 10,000 person strong audience for a
gigantic concert.

Even though the gardens are one clear entity there are differentiated character areas within the space. The central open field is framed by a more densely planted upper garden which follows Union Street, Union Terrace and Rosemount Viaduct. The upper garden rises up along Union Terrace as the Public Arts Centre surfaces above street level. Secluded niches and benches are to be found in amongst the tall grass of the upper garden. On the East boundary one can explore a variety of smaller gardens; play spaces. a water theatre and bar terraces. An exciting new dimension will be added to the properties along Belmont Street; suddenly they will have a new address on the Aberdeen City Gardens. With a perfect orientation to the South West this is a guaranteed commercial success for bars and restaurants and will ensure that the gardens are filled with life around the clock. For the colder months, especially, there is a sequence
of winter gardens. We have taken the liberty of proposing a revival of the Triple Kirks original church structure as a unique botanical garden in the heart of Aberdeen. This frames a beautiful courtyard garden which serves as a prelude to the grand city garden beyond. As the focal point of the natural auditorium the Belmont Square will be the main stage area for Earge scale events.

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