RGU architecture student recognised for Torry tower proposals

Daniel Whitelaw and George Adam
Daniel Whitelaw and George Adam

A talented student at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment has been recognised for his proposals to rejuvenate an area of Aberdeen.

Daniel Whitelaw, 21, was presented with the City of Aberdeen Medal for Civic Architecture by Lord Provost of Aberdeen, George Adam, at a special prize giving ceremony at the School.

The Award, which has been bestowed on students for over 40 years, is given to a student who demonstrates their design talent on a project set in the city of Aberdeen.

This year’s brief was to design a mixed use multi-storey building for a brown field site in Torry to house sheltered flats, a medical centre, a police station and commercial premises.

Daniel, who is currently in the fourth year of his course, said: “We initially spent a lot of time working on the whole of Torry as an area, looking into the population of the area, its history and other social factors. This was done in larger groups.

“After starting our own individual approaches, I decided that a better visual link needed to be made between the city centre of Aberdeen and Victoria Road so as to draw more people into Torry and help improve the retail of the area in general. I decided that the best approach to doing this was by building tall.

“I created a 10 storey section that had a cultural centre at the top to utilise the views from the top of the building. This space could also be hired out as a luxury space for events.

“The second part to the design was to create a break along Victoria Road itself, to create a better public space and provide an enticing entrance to the pathway at the back. After this, I wanted the flats for the sheltered housing to be more luxurious to break the stereotype that many eligible people have of the service that they would be down grading from their existing living environment.”

Fellow Architecture students Sophie Perrot, 19, James Dalley, 21, and Calum Ward, 21, all received certificates of commendations for their proposals.

The Lord Provost said: “This prize is all about encouraging innovative thinking and fresh ideas. The skill on show from each of the students was tremendous but Daniel’s design really stood out as something original as well as having a real practical purpose to it.”

Conrad Wiedermann, Stage 3 Architecture Design Studio Leader, said: “In his design Daniel did not take the easy option for the site by politely fitting in. In contrast, he had the courage to see that the potential for the site was the opposite.

“His building creates a landmark in an area of Torry that can feel run down and by creating a tall building which acts as a beacon and visitor attraction as well as social housing he makes both a statement about a positive future for the area as well as creating a strong axis and visual link with the rest of the city.

“All in, his was a clever scheme that proves that there is a place for strong statements and tall buildings as long as they make a positive contribution to their area and help social cohesion. The award for the scheme by the council was well deserved and shows that the planning department is interested to see innovative solutions to the problems the city and especially Torry is facing.”

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