Science block work kick-starts £100m regeneration at University of Aberdeen

Transformational plans to further enhance teaching and learning spaces at the University of Aberdeen have further progressed with the beginning of work on a new £35 million Science Teaching Hub.

(from left) Gordon Milne, Robertson managing director; Professor George Boyne, University of Aberdeen principal & vice-chancellor and Professor Richard Wells, University of Aberdeen vice principal international partnerships

A wide portfolio of major regeneration and development projects with a combined cost of almost £100m is being considered or getting under way at the Old Aberdeen campus.

Robertson Group is carrying out the design and construction of the new science hub, which is set to open in the first half of 2021.

Principal and vice-chancellor Professor George Boyne cut the first sod on the site of the facility which will provide cutting-edge teaching labs for students studying biological sciences, biomedical sciences, chemistry, geoscience and physiology.

The four-storey building will be built using a post-tensioned concrete frame with piled foundations with precast concrete cladding panels and curtain walling.

Elsewhere on campus ambitious concepts are being examined to revitalise the historic heart of King’s College in order to reconnect it with the community. New educational spaces are proposed for Cromwell Tower, The Stack and the Senate wing – areas that are either little, or poorly used.

How new teaching space could look in The Stack

Enhancement proposals are also being explored for the MacRobert Building that will see it become the home for the entire Business School, which is expected to double its student population over the next decade. Existing users of MacRobert will also be provided with the same high standard of accommodation.

Regeneration work is also under way inside the King’s South Quad wing where four traditional lecture theatres last reconfigured in the 1970s are being overhauled to make way for two large collaborative teaching spaces. 

Future projects will also include New King’s, with potential remodelling of the interior being considered to create further modern learning environments.

The campus regeneration is ongoing at the same time as consultation gets underway to create a new strategy - Aberdeen 2040 - to shape the direction of the University over the next 20 years.

Plans for a remodelling of New King’s

Professor George Boyne said: “Coming in the wake of our single biggest academic recruitment drive in recent years, this is an exciting and dynamic time to be studying and working at the University of Aberdeen, with big investment and bold regeneration ahead.

“Some of the proposals in development will transform estate that has been ‘lost’ over the years and yet exists at the very heart of our campus. As well as bringing neglected spaces back to life, we are looking at creating better connectivity that will open up areas of our campus that will be unknown to many.

“This is the first phase of our vision to bring greater vibrancy and cohesion to the heart of our Old Aberdeen campus and make it the very best it can be as we plan for our next two decades.”

Alongside the Science Teaching Hub project board, two programme boards have been formed - one to develop plans for the historic core of King’s and the other to ensure optimal future configuration and use of the MacRobert Building. Both will ensure high standards of environmental performance.

Work will be sensitive to the historic character of the King’s buildings, preserving the facades of our traditional buildings and conservation areas while enhancing the interior spaces, ensuring a dynamic environment for students and staff is delivered that meets the needs of the 21st century.

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