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Union Terrace Gardens competition to be launched next month

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Malcolm Reading Consultants has been appointed to run a design competition for the contentious redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen, Scotland

Brisac Gonzalez’s Peacock Visual Arts centre proposal for the site was controversially shelved last year when Aberdeen Council decided to pursue a £140 million project, backed by local businessman Ian Woods. The studio won planning permission to build on the site in 2007.

Dubbed the ‘City Garden Project’, the Woods scheme aims to raise the level of the gardens, covering over a road and railway and creating civic and cultural facilities beneath.

Malcolm Reading Consultants has yet to finalise his brief however the competition is expected to be launched next month with shortlisted designs unveiled in September.

Malcolm Reading told the Aberdeen Press and Journal: ‘This design competition to revitalise the area in and around Union Terrace Gardens is an opportunity to shape the future, creating a more pleasing green setting in the city’s centre with a new dynamic which will refresh and delight citizens and visitors.

‘It is about Aberdeen reinventing itself and we are proud and delighted to be a part of this.

‘The competition will create a buzz, a sense of something happening, interest from around the world, global media attention, local dialogue and an enriched environment for everyone.’

Woods has already stumped up a £50million ‘first instalment’ to pay for the project, providing £400,000 to cover the costs of the competition alone.

In August last year, campaigners demanded the Scottish government investigate the decision to scrap proposals for a Brisac Gonzalez-designed arts centre at the gardens.

The group alleged the project could cost as much as £300 million.

In May last year, The RIAS described the decision to launch an international design competition for the Woods scheme as ‘inappropriate in the extreme.’

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