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Foster and Snøhetta on Union Terrace Gardens shortlist

Foster + Partners, Snøhetta and Mecanoo are among six high-profile design teams shortlisted to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen

The finalists were unanimously chosen from 55 entries to the international design competition which sought a design team for the contentious £140 million project to revamp the city centre green space.

Other practices shortlisted included New York-based Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Gustafson Porter with Niall McLaughlin Architects and West 8 with Archial.

Foster + Partners teamed up with Beirut-based Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture while Snøhetta revived its V&A Dundee competition design team by pairing with Gareth Hoskins Architects.

The full shortlist:

  • Diller Scofidio and Renfro (New York) / Keppie Design (Glasgow) working in association with landscape architect Olin Studio.
  • Foster & Partners (London) / Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture (Beirut) working in association with cost and construction consultant Gardiner & Theobald
  • Snøhetta (Oslo) / Gareth Hoskins Architects (Edinburgh) working in association with engineering and multi-discipline company AECOM
  • Gustafson Porter (London) / Niall McLaughlin Architects (London) working with urban analyst Space Syntax, engineer Arup and cost adviser Jackson Coles
  • Mecanoo Architecten (Delft, Netherlands) / Cooper Cromar (Glasgow) working in association with landscape architect Ian White, engineer Buro Happold and cost adviser Davis Langdon (AECOM). 
  • West 8 urban design & landscape architecture (Rotterdam, Netherlands) / Archial Group (Aberdeen) working in association with engineer Arup and cost and construction consultant Turner & Townsend

The six finalists will now proceed to the contest’s second stage where they will receive a competition brief and be asked to prepare concept designs which will go on public display in September.

Duncan Rice, jury panel chair and former University of Aberdeen principal, said: ‘That the competition attracted high-level interest from around the world is a great compliment to Aberdeen City and Shire.

‘The jury agreed unanimously on the six finalists and is excited about the potential of their visions for the City Gardens Project.’

Urban regeneration ‘guru’ Charles Landry added: ‘What was very notable about the finalists is that they are already actively involved in tackling similar challenges to those posed by the City Garden project, and their submissions had drawn inspiration from the issues in Aberdeen. Many of the innovative projects that they have achieved in other places have not only captured the world’s eye and admiration but become much-loved and a source of pride for the respective local communities.

‘As part of the selection process, it was important to have a balance of finalists capable of bringing an element of surprise. The finalists involve a mix of landscape design-led and urban-design-led teams who, through applying innovative thinking to how to make best use of civic space, have achieved remarkable success in regenerating once vibrant cities which have lost their charisma and cultural spirit.’

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