Time to ‘big-up’ Aberdeen’s architecture Apr 4 2016 | Catherine McKeown, president of Aberdeen Society of Architects and architect at BMJ Architects

DESPITE its economic clout and rich heritage, Aberdeen is still viewed by many as a poor relation when it comes to Scottish architecture.

Other cities and towns appear to pip us to the post in cutting edge design and creativity.

And being on the receiving end of the renowned “Plook on the Plinth” Carbuncle Award last summer, did little to rally us in our efforts to raise the bar.

But it’s time to big ourselves up and celebrate the stunning old and new architecture we have here on our doorstep.

From the Mercat Cross and Salvation Army Citadel in the historic Castlegate to the epitome of Edwardian architecture that is Marischal College - we have an enviable portfolio of striking granite buildings.

Alongside the traditional structures, we’re beginning to see a city centre that we can be truly proud of with modern, energy-efficient offices setting a new standard.

Award-winning homes are springing up across the region which have been designed by local architects using cutting-edge 3D software to achieve builds more efficiently than ever before.

This is proof enough that Aberdeen has all the ingredients to be a serious contender when it comes to best built heritage.

But don’t just take my word for it.

The forthcoming Festival of Architecture, a key part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is about to reveal some hidden treasures, remind us of some old classics and introduce us to new favourites in the city’s built landscape.

Directed by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and working with a wide range of partners, the festival has been designed to be an engaging celebration of our buildings.

The Aberdeen Society of Architects – which celebrates its centenary this year - has worked hard to create a programme of events during April that promises to inspire and capture the imagination of every generation.

A series of fascinating walk and talk tours will explore the history of Aberdeen and impact of granite on the city’s development, inspirational lectures will be hosted by world-leading architects and iconic designers and film screenings will be shown revealing archive footage on the architectural history of the city.

And the backdrop to the festival will be a giant mirrored pavilion aptly designed by a Robert Gordon University student and constructed in the city’s historic Castlegate.

The Festival of Architecture gives us the opportunity to remind the people of Aberdeen that our city is a diverse and exciting landscape to live in.

It is also about telling others of our architectural achievements and our efforts in transforming the city’s cultural reputation.

Buildings and spaces are the settings of our lives.

So consciously or unconsciously we have a relationship with architecture and our built environment.

Architecture is one of the most significant means at our disposal for creating our culture.

In parallel to this is the now well accepted school of thought that architecture impacts beyond function and affects our health, wellbeing and psychology.

There’s so much to see that reflects this is the city of Aberdeen – and our Festival of Architecture will open up the city’s fascinating built environment to everyone.

Something to say?

Continue the conversation on our social network accounts: