Science Teaching Hub, University of Aberdeen

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.

Building under construction – May 2021

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…

Aberdeen Boat Club

Rowing has rather a chequered history in Aberdeen. Tracing its roots back to the 1860s, the activity grew in popularity, but suffered as a result of poor membership in the 1950s. In 1969, following an attempt to rekindle interest, the popularity once again dropped.

By the mid 1970s, rowing had begun its resurgence in part as a result of some successes internationally, and in the early 1980s the first part of the boathouse was built.

Taking a walk along the River Dee yesterday, I noticed that the building looked rather inviting in the sunlight.

Aberdeen Boat Club
Aberdeen Boat Club

Situated a few hundred meters along the river bank are the remaining rowing organisations of Aberdeen Asset Schools Boathouse, AURC & RGU Student Association Rowing Club.

Aberdeen Asset Schools Boathouse, AURC & RGU Student Association
Aberdeen Asset Schools, AURC & RGU Student Association Rowing Club

The city now has a thriving rowing community, comprising of members of all abilities, and the Aberdeen Boat Club is now the largest such organisation in Scotland.

If you’re interested in joining, click here.

Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen

Bold and Beautiful

The library is situated on the western edge of the University of Aberdeen’s King’s College campus. It was completed in 2012, and built to replace the Queen Mother Library which sat directly south of it on the same site (to the right hand side in the image).

The original library had been built in 1965 and then subsequently extended in 1978 and then again in 1982. However, it was never designed for the large number of visitors that it served, and so a replacement was sought. The architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen won the project to commission the new space.

The Sir Duncan Rice building is a simple cube from the outside, clad in an irregular pattern of insulated glazing. The glazed surface appears to float above ground level. The dark panels are transparent, the lighter ones are not.

On the north side, glass elevators rise to each of the floors. From within each there is an unobstructed view of St. Machar Drive and the University’s Zoology building.

From the centre of the ground floor looking upwards, irregular curved cut-outs on each of the floors create an atrium that extends towards the sky for a breathtaking view.

My image does not allude to the sheer boldness of the architects who have designed a piece which sits within the grounds of an ancient university. The library is a mere stones-throw away from King’s College which was built around the year 1500.

In fact the two buildings are visible to each other. Just a few hundred yards and 400 years apart.