Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The FUTURE is here!



Well, it has been a while since I last posted. While I was going to let sleeping dogs lie and use my current geographical shift to depart from the debate surrounding Union Terrace Gardens, the dogs have woken up, and in a fit have turned around and bit the good people of Aberdeen, and indeed anyone with any aesthetic or cultural sense firmly in the ankles.

Yes, dear reader, the Future is here! After much speculation ACSEF's shortlisted designs have been announced and revealed and (while us poor proles are not allowed to view the public exhibition at the former Pier building on Belmont street until tomorrow) released online. Regular visitors to this blog will have been used to serious hyperlinkage and cross referencing and a little bit of expose into the machinations surrounding the project, this special edition blog post will be a little different. I'm just going to take a little time to publicize the designs and let everyone have a look.

Six architectural teams have been assembled to provide designs for Sir Ian Wood's City Square Garden Project - but the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Up until now noone, let along the scheme's backer's have been sure what the project is all about. It started out life as a "Cross between Central Park, and a Grand Italian Piazza" it turned into "five acres of Garden, if thats what you want."

All images borrowed from STV Local.

Team One have taken their inspiration directly from a spider's web - or from a doodle idly drawn on the corner of a notepad while on the phone to someone they didn't really want to talk to (ACSEF?).
On closer inspection the web-designs seem to constitute a series of raised walkways so you, too, can experience life in the pleasure domes from Logan's Run, or the Futuristic world from sci-fi documentary, The Jetsons.
Complete with travelators for traveling from the Denburn Car Park to the Trinty Centre Car park nestled helpfully underneath this meadow:
So if you see plumes of smoke - dont worry its not a brush fire! Its simply exhaust fumes, what more would you need from an inner-city-future-space-meadow. To top off the futuristic theme, the cherry on top of team one's design is this teleporation hub/gateway between dimensions:


In Team Two's aerial view they appear to have done nothing at all, however a giant transparent worm is in the middle of devouring the denburn dual carraigeway. (And there was much rejoicing)
Not even the cold weather of Aberdeen can deter this giant Glass beast as it ambles up to devour the unsuspecting Aberdonians milling around. Which they can do now that the worm has eaten the road and the railway.
Ok, its not that bad. The worm doesn't actually  devour the humans, It appears to simply wine and dine them. Like a giant larval bad date. 

Or it could be fattening them up - who's to say? These are only visualisations. The main problem I have with Team Two's designs are the inability to shake this comparison out of my head:


Team Three are most likely to be Sir Ian Wood's favourites. In that their designs are practically identical to those vomited onto paper by Haliday Fraser Munro for the 2009 Technical Appraisal:
Although it fails to bother cover up the road and the railway. But that will be forgiven given that the architects of Team Three prescribe to the same school of fantasy aboroculture as Sir Ian. The cross sections provided below show:
Can you see it?
How about now?

Team Four have provided designs for the UTG Commerative Plate.

Although viewed from serf-height, and not from the vantage point of the Hubble Telescope, it appears to be a Paddy Field, being worked by future children. Obviously the current financial climate and Economic situation has seen a reversal of lifestyles and fashions to a post-war situation:
You will notice in the mid-ground that there appears to be a family erecting a shanty-home. Obviously these are just renderings, as it is doubtful that a Hooverville would be permitted in the centre of town.
 They havent even bothered to finish that building.

Team 5's effort appears as though it is sponsored by a popular angular crisp brand. Although I dont wish to name the actual brand for fear they may sue for defamation at the remotest posibilty of being linked with the unpopular scheme:
"Is that really a flat, green triangle?" An online correspondent of mine asked upon viewing the above image. While obviously ACSEF will not have anyone mention the word "flat" anywhere near the project, (Use of the word "Flat" in beyond Holburn Street or south of King Street is rumoured to be prohibited in a local by-law) we have to give it local Guardians of Economic Future here, as this other image clarifies:

Yes. It is in fact an image of Nuclear Winter circa 2150 AD, as rendered by a re-animated J.M. Turner. Note the elderly couple from Raymond Brigg's When The Wind Blows, cowering in the foreground, and in the mid ground people in various stages of being vapourized.

Last and, by no certain means lest, Team Six appear to have done nothing at all to the gardens:
  
But have rather spent all their money on.....

wait for it....


THE MONOLITH!

You can imagine it now, projecting the eeiry high pitched whine, underpinned by a rough bass hum as it fires groups of birds at the Trinity Centre. It dwarfs Union Street, standing twice the size of Jamieson and Carry. Already it is rugged and moss-covered as though it has always been there, As it Should Have. On closer inspection it is giant sized Jenga, as scale of which only the Guardians of Economic Future themselves can play. In its rightful as the biggest thing in Aberdeen, nay The North East, nay Scotland it dwarfs even The King as he stands proud with his scepter and guilded Royal Football.

There you have it, the designs everyone has been waiting for. If you have to pick, I urge you to VOTE MONOLITH. However this is really because I didnt think there was a more rediculous concept than to pave over UTG and replace them with a car park/undergound arcade/street level piazza - and Team Six have completely proved me wrong.

Out of all of them the Fosters  Team Two design is probably the best out of the lot, despite looking not unlike these fellas, from 1973 Doctor Who episode The Green Death: (which is pretty apt...)

But the passable designs dont fullful the perameters of Sir Ian Wood, the minority stakeholder (Who's silence since the announcement has been deafening) and the real tragedy may already have happened: the loss of the most beautiful design for Union Terrace Gardens.



29 comments:

Suzanne Kelly said...

Oh dear oh dear. You've written an excellent piece, telling the world that The Emperor Has No Clothes On. No ACSEF directorship for either of us, I'm afraid

Your 'Jenga' comparison was excellent - I hadn't even known you'd written it when I made an earlier FB comment to you about Jenga. But the glass nematode worm is perhaps the scariest 'design' of them all.

Excellent piece, left me laughing. If and when they come to do anything to our Victorian garden and our listed trees, look for me under the friendship tree, where I will defend it against giant worms, spiderwebs and even J Craw.
Suzanne 'Old Susannah' Kelly

Debra Storr said...

Thanks so much for this round up. I'll tweet.

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Oh dear oh dear. You've written an excellent piece, telling the world that The Emperor Has No Clothes On. No ACSEF directorship for either of us, I'm afraid

Your 'Jenga' comparison was excellent - I hadn't even known you'd written it when I made an earlier FB comment to you about Jenga. But the glass nematode worm is perhaps the scariest 'design' of them all.

Excellent piece, left me laughing. If and when they come to do anything to our Victorian garden and our listed trees, look for me under the friendship tree, where I will defend it against giant worms, spiderwebs and even J Craw.
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