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Redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen

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'Thrilling' New York design for Aberdeen

18 January 2012

Proposed design. Diller Scofidi and Renfro

A three-dimensional web-like network of raised pathways linking eight interconnected gardens, designed by the creators of New York's award-winning High Line, has won the design commission for a controversial project to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens in the heart of Aberdeen.

The panel of local business people and politicians described 'Granite Web', from New York studio Diller Scofidio and Renfro in collaboration with Scottish-based Keppie Design, as 'thrilling' and said the design team had 'overwhelmed' the jury with their vision and sensitivity.

However the decision was branded 'an unpopular choice for an unpopular project' by Friends of Union Terrace Gardens, one of several campaign groups opposing the £140 million project.

In a public consultation process last year 55% of those who took part said they did not support the replacement of the steeply-sloping Gardens with a new raised-level design, preferring a lower-key plan retaining much of the existing planting which has not been among the designs being considered.

Aberdeen City Council has since voted to carry out a referendum to gauge public support, due to take place in late February. Most of the £250,000 cost of the poll is being met by local oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood, who has already pledged £50 million of his own money to fund the project.

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