Marischal Square: BCO event will put the spotlight on a Masterclass in Master Planning
7 Oct 2019
Aberdeen is a city that continually surprises. It is well-known for its distinctive granite buildings but few visitors who arrive here expect to be surrounded by so many architectural gems, from the distinctive dome of His Majesty’s Theatre to the stunning St Machar’s Cathedral.
And, even in modern times, the Granite City continues to be an architectural eye-opener. Marischal Square, an award-winning commercial and leisure development in the heart of the city centre, will once again come under the spotlight when it hosts the BCO Scotland 2020 Awards launch.
Halliday Fraser Munro will be at the event on October 9 as the architects responsible for master planning and designing this transformational project of which we are incredibly proud.
The BCO, widely recognised and respected as the leading organisation for pioneering quality office developments in the UK, awarded Marischal Square a highly commended title in the Commercial Workplace category of its annual awards. Regeneration Project of the Year from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Commercial Property of the Year in the Scottish Property Awards are among the other accolades it has received.
In master planning this £109m project for Muse Developments, Aviva, and Aberdeen City Council, Halliday Fraser Munro looked back to examine what the Broad Street area looked like in years gone by. Narrow closes and lanes were a key feature, criss-crossing the town and providing a focal point for social interaction.
We looked at how we could replicate that in a way that would provide a stand-out development for the city centre. We wanted to create something that would act as a catalyst for further transformational projects as part of the wider masterplan for the Broad Street/Queen Street area that we also worked on for the city council.
They key thing for us was to reintroduce those old walking routes. We opened up the ground floor of the development, allowing people to walk through in whatever director they choose. We didn’t want people to walk around Marischal Square but walk through it.
We placed cafes and restaurants on the ground floor – all looking outwards – with business space on the upper levels. We knew that this would provide the sense of community that was needed to inject life into that part of the city.
In addition to the interconnected public space, we ensured that the 16th century Provost Skene’s House was at the heart of the development, and further enhanced the public realm with the pedestrianisation of Broad Street.
A pivotal part of the brief for Marischal Square was to increase daytime and evening activity in this part of the city centre, to create opportunities for employment, and integrate into the wider city centre masterplan.
What has been created is a vibrant mixed-use quarter which, in addition to Grade A office space, includes cafes, restaurants, a bar and hotel. The landscaping, which has included the creation of new water fountains outside Marischal College, has made it an attractive space for the public to enjoy whatever the time of day or the weather.
Essentially, it has provided a new beat to the civic heart of the city centre.
We are looking forward to this week’s event, making connections with industry peers and developers and discussing the success of the project. The BCO Awards is one of the most respected schemes within the commercial property sector, and we are honoured that they are putting the spotlight Marischal Square for this launch.