The regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens is nearing completion. It is now June 2022, and the project has been plagued by delays. Most recently, a soft opening of the gardens had to be cancelled due to the gardens resembling a building site. A number of trees have been planted. However flowers and grass are, as yet, nowhere to be seen.
The new gardens will have three purpose-built pavilions spaced-out along the length of Union Terrace. These were created in order provide access to the park, along with retail and leisure space. I wanted to capture the essence of the pavilions, and chose the one located closest to Union Street, principally for the lighting.
I’m really starting to pay attention to the development, and I look forward to the grand opening soon…
This was my first visit to the site of the new Science Teaching Hub since lockdown began, and I was pleased to see that progress towards completion is being made. There is still some way to go, but according to the University, the facility will open in early 2022.
Looking in particular at the artistic renderings available online, I think the new building will contrast with the existing Sir Duncan Rice Library, in that it will be a much flatter structure with strict vertical lines and evenly-spaced windows. It seems very restrained and somewhat clinical in comparison to the Library which sits nearby, staring-down, larger than life, with its jagged, coloured glazing.
Detailed information about the purpose of the new facility is available from the University website here.
With regard to my image, I felt that the branches on the tree, situated across the street from the development, helped to knock the building somewhat off-balance. Without the tree, the image feels inorganic, and bordering on obsessively repetitive.
The branches also resemble bolts of lightning, travelling downwards ready to spark life into the hollow shell.
Hopefully soon, a new centre of excellence will be born…
I’ve been avoiding Flickr for some time now. I couldn’t remember why, until I tried to login, and was inundated with multiple errors, and the need to reset multiple passwords just to get into my account. Once inside the domain, various options and tasks were unavailable due to ongoing maintenance, and so I became quite frustrated with it all.
Before logging out however, I decided to review some of the old images I’d previously published, and was surprised at just how my visual interpretation and inspirations have changed over the years. (I joined Flickr in 2007).
Whilst burrowing into the past, I re-discovered that Flickr quite nicely facilitates searching for images which are licensed through Creative Commons in some way or another. More information available here.
I felt that this was a nice opportunity to have some fun reimagining other people’s work in my own way, without the fear of angry and somewhat tedious exchanges around copyright infringement.
This work, “Downtown Sky”, is a derivative of “Downtown L.A.” by mLu.fotos (www.flickr.com/photos/luppes777/), used under CC BY. “Downtown Sky” is licensed under CC BY by Derek Wasyliszyn.
This work, “110 South”, is a derivative of “View of 110 Looking South” by Daniel Ramirez (www.flickr.com/photos/danramarch/), used under CC BY. “110 South” is licensed under CC BY by Derek Wasyliszyn
This work, “Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla”, is a derivative of “Salk Institute” by washingtonydc (www.flickr.com/photos/washingtonydc/), used under CC BY NC SA. “Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla” is licensed under CC BY NC SA by Derek Wasyliszyn.
The images are not of the highest resolution, but that’s OK: I wasn’t working from the original files, and I really just wanted to edit some SoCal images!
Thank you to the respective original photographers for sharing their works through Creative Commons.
The Marischal Square project (by Muse Developments) on Broad Street is beginning to draw to a close. The exterior is now essentially complete except for a few cladding tiles here and there, the windows are in, and the final form of the property is now well-established.
The project has experienced some push-backs from parts of the community, and as yet, the premises is not fully let, but it has the potential to bring some hard cash to the city. Will the locals buy-into it? That is yet to be seen. However, I am optimistic as ever, and hope that it brings further prestige to the city.
As my principal obsession is with light, I have observed that that the warm evening sun kisses the walls rather beautifully. I am also rather taken-aback by the dark window frames which crisply and precisely puncture the walls.
At present, it is not possible to access the site, and so the photographic opportunities are quite limited. However, I shall be posting further images of this rather interesting space as the site begins to clear.
Please check-out my Instagram feed for further images (some of which are of this project).
Built in 2006, on the north side of the River Dee estuary, the Marine Operations Centre was constructed to replace the old Roundhouse which had been in use since 1803. The Centre was designed by SMC Parr Architects, constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine, and won an Aberdeen Civic Society award.
The MOC appears at the southernmost point of the main Aberdeen beach, and sits like an exclamation point, marking the end of this stretch of coastline.
There are two main components to the building.
The white, concrete cylinder shown in the image, represents solidity, and from this position, resembles a light house. This was no accident: it was the architect’s intent. This cylinder houses the stairwell and other amenities.
The remaining section of the building, shown briefly in the image to either side of the cylinder, contains the business area of the premises. This section is glazed throughout and is shaped somewhat like a semicircular sail caught in the wind. According to the architect, this element of the design represents light.
The two elements: solid and light, intersect within the centre of the building.
I have taken many shots of this building over the years. I keep coming back again and again to look at it, but have struggled to connect with it (although I find it beautiful). However, something caught my eye on this visit and it was the presence of the fencing around the property, and the security intercom system. I realise that these measures are in place for security reasons and to protect the people and operations. However, they also keep the good spirits at bay, and make the building appear stand-offish and a little isolated.
Nevertheless, I still find the Centre beautiful from all angles. In the image provided, I have tried to highlight the bright, but weathered, lighthouse element against the protection of the dark and imposing security fencing, and menacing sky.
The Centre is worth visiting (although it’s rarely open to the public, as far as I am aware). I would advise sunrise or sunset / dusk for the best views.
This shot was taken from the London Eye in October 2014 during a family visit to the city. Looking south east, and off-centre sits the Park Plaza County Hall Hotel with its chequerboard-like façade. To the right hand side of this in the Reuleaux triangle-shaped building, is its sister: the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.
The railway tracks to the rear of the hotels lead to the left hand side of the image and Waterloo Station.
In the distance to the left of centre, the tall structure intersecting the horizon is the Strata SE1 Building at Elephant and Castle in Southwark. It is also known as the Razor or Electric Razor on account of its distinctive shape, and in particular the sloping upper portion.
The foreground contains the distinctive tenement buildings of Belvedere Road and Chicheley Street.
The weather that day was mild for the season, and despite the cloud cover in the image, the sky was fairly clear in all other directions. We could see spectacular views far-into the distance and I think that it was the 360 degree view of the city that instantly cured my dislike of heights!
I fell in love with London the moment I arrived, and although we were only there for a few short days, we managed to pack-in a great deal of sight-seeing. I would dearly like to capture some more views of the city from the sky though, and look forward to going back soon…
Situated near to the intersection of Union Street and Holburn Street, this cluster of buildings span a 70 year period of construction within the city of Aberdeen.
Starting in the distance, the building to the left, which is currently under construction, is the Silver Fin. which has been designed by Cooper Cromar architects. It has nine floors of Grade A office space, and four floors of integrated vehicle parking. The pictured view is that of the property rear. The entrance is situated on Union Street. A brand new façade is being constructed, somewhat predictably, in granite.
To the right hand side of the Silver Fin in the image, is another Grade A office space with integrated parking. It has already been completed, but at the time of writing, appears to be uninhabited. The Capitol Building, designed by Keppie Design, in contrast to the Silver Fin, retains it’s original frontage on Union Street, which is that of an elegant 1930s art deco cinema.
Moving closer, the Justice Mill Travelodge is immediately apparent, with its stark black and white exterior and small windows. Designed by local architects, Cumming and Co, it couldn’t contrast more with it’s glass-skinned neighbours if it tried. Both ends of the building are book-ended with butterfly-roofed towers.
Adjacent to the Travelodge is the IQ Building, designed by Richard Murphy Architects. Yet another office premises, this time with an integrated hotel as well as parking. The IQ Building is once again clad in glass. However, in this instance, the walls are stepped down towards the residential area below. At present the premises are being leased to Centrica and Wood Group PSN.
Finally, to the fore is the unmistakable sight of the, now disused, Bon Accord Baths. The curved roof and tall glazed window apertures hide a truly beautiful art deco swimming pool within. The Baths were opened in 1940, and served the city well until the doors were finally closed in 2008 as a result of funding issues. Since then there have been attempts to sell the building, repurpose it, and even bring it back to life. However, in these times of economic uncertainty, it is unlikely to reopen any time soon.
Despite the lack of demand at present for office space within the city, I do feel that once the energy sector strengthens again, this pocket-sized district of the city will jump into life, and become a hub of activity.
The Bridge of Dee is situated towards the south end of the city at the terminus of South Anderson Drive, and despite other additions to the city’s infrastructure, is still a major thoroughfare. It is however a major bottleneck for vehicles especially at peak times, as it only supports one lane of traffic in each direction.
The bridge, unsurprisingly, spans the river Dee, and comprises seven ribbed arches. Constructed of dressed stone, a number of coats of arms are still visible today.
The Bridge of Dee was originally constructed in 1520 with £20,000 of funds bequeathed by prominent Renaissance Bishop, William Elphinstone (1431-1514) who founded Kings College, and drove the restoration of St. Machar’s Cathedral, both of which are situated in Old Aberdeen.
During its lifetime, the bridge has been restored in 1721 and widened in 1841. The widening was coordinated by City Architect, John Smith (1781-1852), who had originally proposed to build a new bridge, however the city council of the time declined.
Until 1832, the bridge was the only access to the city from the south. Plans are afoot to create a new Dee crossing so as to remove the bottleneck at this ancient structure, however, nothing has so far been crystallised.
When the water level in the river permits, it is possible to walk under the first arch through to the other side, as part of a much longer riverside walk along the Dee.
The image shows three of the ribbed arches from the south-side of the structure.