Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen

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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.

The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

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Metallic Exoskeleton

The Rowett Institute was formed in 1913, and was built in the Craibstone area on the outskirts of Aberdeen city. Its original purpose was to research animal nutrition. This was later extended at the stipulation of its benefactor and namesake, Dr. John Quiller Rowett, to include research on human nutrition.

The institute formally merged with Aberdeen University in 2008 whilst still based at its premises to the south side of Dyce airport, and was renamed The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (RINH).

In March 2016, the institute relocated to its new custom-built home on the Foresterhill site (designed by Halliday Fraser Munro), where it now continues its work in the heart of the North East’s premier health campus.

The building sits adjacent to both the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Suttie Centre, to the north of the campus. All three buildings have their own character, and all have been built within the last decade. This demonstrates Aberdeen’s commitment to continue to be a world leader in medical research.

The Rowett building itself appears to be, at its most basic, a rectangular cuboid with a twist! The main structure is clad with an intricate exoskeleton of vertical and horizontal beams, as can be seen in the image above.

An interesting footnote:

The institute was originally concerned with issues surrounding malnutrition. In modern times there is a much greater emphasis on the overconsumption of food! How times have changed!

More information on the institute’s fascinating research, and how to volunteer to be included in one of their studies, can be found here.

Fog in the ‘Deen

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Fogger-deen

I took this mono image of the city from the Torry Battery whilst scouting a location for an upcoming photo shoot.

As I took-in the view, I noticed that the image captures a number of features of the city.

There are elements of the old: the intricate towers in the centre of the frame are Marischal College and the Citadel. To the left of these are the three cranes used in the construction of the new Marischal Square development – a project that has split the opinions of the city’s residents.

In the left of the foreground is Footdee (“Fittie”), a small fishing village based at the mouth of the river Dee. The large, imposing tower in Fittie is the Marine Operations Centre. Fishing and the sea are of great importance to the city.

The view is built-up in layers as a result of the light fog, which makes for a sense of depth.

 

Sofa, So Good

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Relax in style with Hitch Mylius

Continuing with the theme of seating, this image is taken from a series I captured in February 2016 as part of a shoot for a designer friend of mine. He was looking for some new portraits of himself for his website and we stumbled-upon this piece whilst scouting for a location.

Following a query from a follower on Instagram, I decided to take a further look into this beautifully simple sofa and found that it is a Hitch Mylius design.

Hitch Mylius has been producing quality furniture in London since the early 1970s, and has grown from strength to strength in the intervening years. A number of the original designs are still in production today, such is their iconic quality.

See Hitch Mylius’ website here for some awe-inspiring colours and sleek designs.

 

Take a Seat…

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Warning: unsuitable for those with piles

Located near the entrance to the old Scott Sutherland School of Architecture at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, this concrete armchair is presented in the style of Le Corbusier’s LC2 chair: a classic design which has been often copied.

I really love the weathered texture and the leaves growing from the seat “cushion” in this example.

The School has now relocated to a brand new facility within the Sir Duncan Rice Building, a little further east on the campus along the banks of the river Dee, and is certainly worth visiting.

I’m looking forward to the end of year show in June. Details available here. The event will showcase the work of the degree and masters graduates, and will be fascinatingly insightful – I’m certain of that.

In the meantime, I might just take a seat and wait…

Present & Future

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Present & Future by Rosemary Beaton

This sculpture, designed by Rosemary Beaton, is located at the entrance to the Prime Four business park.

The male and female heads are constructed from laser cut metal, finished in the colour blue. The heads rest upon “waves” created from mounds of turfed grass.

The sculpture represents achievements and aspirations within industry, and the waves connect with Aberdeen’s sea history.

The sculpture was commissioned by Drum Property Group and was completed in 2014.

There is word that further sculptures will be created in the future as the business park expands.

I look forward to seeing them.

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Premier Oil New Build

This was my first ever visit to the Prime Four business park, and I reckon that it’s quickly taking shape!

The estate is promoted as a socially and creatively stimulating work and leisure environment, which blends the contemporary built spaces into the natural landscape. Whilst the entire park isn’t fully completed yet, the area in the picture around the Premier Oil building certainly appears to encourage interaction.

I look forward to returning to shoot the site again once the water feature is fully working, as I think that it will bring the area to life as it extends and winds it way past the facade of the building.

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Water Feature Outside the Cafe

This water feature is easily missed as you pass-by the fountain on your way to the Hazlehead cafe. I took this long exposure in order to capture the wetness of the carved rock slab. I was particularly taken with the autumnal colours and green moss, as well as the tiny, wispy water falls.

To this day, I still don’t know if this sculpture has a name! If anyone knows, please comment below, as I’d love to know.