I am fascinated with the concept of a ‘city centre’ primarily because Sydney doesn’t have one! (unless we count George Street which is a big ass congested road) and also because of their public contribution to city. I have recently come across two conflicting proposals for the historic Scottish city of Aberdeen.
Different plans have been developed to revive the area and attract more people to the city centre:
Option one – Development and preservation: has been proposed by Peacock Visual Arts and includes a new contemporary art centre that sits against the existing slopes of the gardens, leaving the site mostly intact. The proposal has full planning permission and most of its funding in place.
Option two – Development and more development: Currently being looked into is that of Sir Ian Wood and ACSEF, who wish to infill the historic gardens with a new concrete square, the proposal demolishes the gardens and the Denburn road and railway line. The project currently has no planning permission and still needs to secure significant amounts of public and private money.
To compare both projects in detail visit here.
I am always in full support of breaking convention however, I think the Architecture industry has a much greater responsibility than that proposed in option 2. We should at times consider preservation and development above ‘demolition’ and ‘in-fill’ solutions. Above all i think we have greater social and environmental responsibility; projects like the New York High Line are a great example where development, preservation and public activation are of equal interest. The Peacock Visual Arts development has a similar intention which is why I support option 1.
There is currently a grass roots opposition campaign against option 2 which is generating some attention. You can check it out here.
Id love to see your opinion in the comments below.