Students unveil ideas for Aberdeen Harbour expansion

Architectural Technology students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have unveiled their designs for the expansion of Aberdeen harbour.

Design by Scott Crighton

Design by Scott Crighton

The final year students were set a brief of designing a Marine Operations Centre for the new harbour and a ferry terminal for the port that could accommodate large cruise liners.

Their designs will go on display later this month as part of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment End of Year Show, which runs from June 18 to 24.

Course leader Jonathan Scott said: “The proposed expansion to Aberdeen Harbour located at Nigg Bay offers a rich array of opportunity for student projects.

“The first of these is a proposal for a Marine Operations Centre, responsible for the safe piloting and direction of ships into and out of the harbour. For technologists this is an opportunity to understand, develop, appraise and communicate ideas for the technically difficult tall, slender structure.

“In addition, the students developed an appropriate fabric for the building that provides a comfortable interior without detrimentally affecting the performance of the building.”

He added: “For the ferry terminal, the students’ designs were required to be contemporary and flexible, with the focus this time on integrating the fabric with a means to power the building and to be as close to zero carbon as possible.”

Student Scott Crighton (22) explained how he tried to meet the requirements with his designs: “Both buildings harnessed modern and innovative construction techniques such as a steel diagrid structure on the outside of the control tower to remove the need for internal structural columns which would create open spaces on each floor.

“A steel gridshell lattice structure was selected for the ferry terminal to span large distances and create an aesthetically interesting and free flowing internal environment.”

He added: “The project was extremely interesting but was also challenging as it was the biggest project we had undertaken in our four years of studying and was set over the full academic year. This approach to building design created a shift in emphasis from form to performance and from structure to envelope.

“Understanding how a building’s envelope affects its overall performance is crucial in today’s built environment as we continue to focus on ways to reduce operation and maintenance costs over a building’s lifespan.”

Classmate Robert Lucas (22) said he based his control centre building around a central core, which acted like a spine in supporting the floors levels, lift and basic services, while likening his ferry terminal design to a rib cage.

He explained: “It created a protective outer shell which housed the smaller functioning structures inside the design. This effect was created through the use of large concrete structural members that repeated through the building.

“Though both of the buildings shared very little in common in their shape, both shared an environmental strategy that harnessed wind energy to generate additional electricity.”

The designs will be on display as part of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment End of Year Show, which runs between June 18 and 24.

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