The site of Aberdeen’s former HMP Craiginches will soon feature a communal garden inspired by the historic prison’s past thanks to help by Sanctuary.
Architecture student Lina Khairy’s ‘Break Free’ design topped a public poll of Torry residents, narrowly beating the creative efforts of two of her course mates.
Lina’s design includes the face of the old prison clock and granite blocks from the perimeter wall.
Housing provider Sanctuary is creating the garden as a community benefit of the 124 affordable homes it is building in partnership with the Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council.
Lina, a second-year student at Robert Gordon University (RGU), said: “It must have been very saddening to see this wall come down but at the same time very liberating – that’s how I came up with ‘Break Free’.
“The design is quite simple. I basically reconstructed the wall but in a way that’s more interactive. The wall will be quite bulky at one end but slowly break down as it progresses through the garden. The people of Torry will be able to sit, relax and play around this wall.
“I considered myself a winner just by participating in the design competition because it was a big learning experience. To actually win – I still have no words for that.”
Members of the public had a week to pick a winner after the designs were revealed at Torry St Fittick’s Parish Church.
j’, a vice chair of Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association and designer in residence at RGU’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “Lina’s design really embodies the brief for this project.
“It recycles the prison wall in a way that allows the new members of Torry, the young children, to have some connection with that past and yet to be inspired by this breaking free of constraint with something worthwhile and useful.
“This is an amazing opportunity for all three students at this stage in their education. For them to have experienced the significance of collaboration between the various parties is really excellent. Being involved in a live project has really stirred them up and kindled their fire for architecture.”
Sanctuary’s site contractor Robertson Construction will work with all three students to create Lina’s garden on the corner of Walker Road and Grampian Place.
Keith Taylor, managing director of Robertson Eastern, said: “Engaging with and involving the local community was an important element of our bid to develop the Craiginches site for Sanctuary. The garden design project very much embodies this.
“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to work with the Robert Gordon University students in this way and involve them as part of our project delivery team. It will provide them with valuable practical experience which I’m sure they will take forward into their careers.”