05 November 2007

Press Release

Plans for a new arts centre for the City in Union Terrace Gardens took a big step forward on Thursday 1 November when the Council’s planning committee agreed an intention to approve the development.

The £10 million facility described as ‘the cultural heart of Aberdeen City and Shire’ will be the only centre of its kind in the North of Scotland.

It will combine the creative energies of Peacock Visual Arts, the City Council’s Arts Education, Arts Development and Dance agencies by housing them centrally in a state-of-the-art centre that is expected to become a powerhouse of ideas and creativity.

A first for the North-east, Aberdeen’s Centre for the Contemporary arts is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors annually and bring around £5million into the local economy.

The plans for the building include galleries, workshops, printmaking, digital and photography suites, television studios, a dance studio, multi purpose areas for film screenings, music and education as well as social spaces including a restaurant, gallery shop and cafe.

The design of the new centre was considered by the planning committee today. Their intention to approve the plans is an important boost for a design that has already been widely praised for its beauty, innovation and sensitivity to its garden setting.

Located along the Victorian archways on Union Terrace, the new centre will follow the original contours of the gardens beneath the height of the existing balustrades along Union Terrace. The innovative design also features grass covered roofs to blend with the rest of the gardens and will create additional green space along the hard-landscaping of the terraces.

Last week Architecture & Design Scotland – Scotland’s national champion for good architecture, design and planning expressed their approval of the design of the new centre within their role of advocating the benefits of good design of public buildings.

Aberdeen Central MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “I want to congratulate the Council for this forward looking decision. Breathing new life into Union Terrace Gardens whilst adding to Aberdeen’s cultural reputation, this is a win win situation for the city and the region.”

Lindsay Gordon, Director of Peacock Visual Arts said: “We’re delighted that the committee have shown a willingness to approve the plans. The countless schemes for Union Terrace suggested over the years show an enormous will to revive these city centre gardens. It is wonderful to receive recognition that this centre will deliver a beautiful, iconic building that puts Aberdeen on the cultural map where it belongs as a cosmopolitan 21st century city while at the same time restoring the gardens as a safe, family-friendly destination for all of Aberdeen’s communities.”