Architecture students look to foster sense of place at Aberdeen tower blocks

Dr Quazi Mahtab Zaman
Dr Quazi Mahtab Zaman

Architecture students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have been tasked with developing ideas to promote a sense of neighbourhood in two council housing tower blocks in Aberdeen.

As part of the project, led by urban design and architecture lecturer Dr Quazi Mahtab Zaman, the third year students will focus on Hutcheon Court and Seamount Court while investigating the regeneration of council housing social spaces.

The students, who have been split into different groups, have conducted site visits and will produce urban audits of each area alongside a photographic survey before starting to develop regeneration ideas.

They will be expected to come up with at least five ideas for both Hutcheon Court and Seamount Court.

Some of the students working on the project
Some of the students working on the project

Dr Zaman said: “The two tower blocks that the students are looking at pose a number of issues for residents. There is very little sense of place and the buildings don’t show the human life that is going on inside.

“There are no spaces designed for social engagement outside the blocks – no landscape design, no sitting areas and no space for children to play. That in turn has the effect that people living in these blocks can feel alienated from each other.”

He added: “What we want the students to do is to think about what could be done to improve the situation, whether that is using ‘soft changes’ such as colour, installations and landscaping or ‘hard changes’ such as infilling social activity spaces, like crèches, sheltered spaces or community gardens, all of which will generate ‘social capital’ as part of the regeneration methods.”

The students also attended a meeting of George Street Community Council to hear what the experience of residents living in the towers was. Littering, anti-social behavioural and a lack of community were all highlighted as issues.

The project will run until April.

Share icon
Share this article: