Plans approved to revitalise historic core of University of Aberdeen campus

King’s College, Aberdeen
(James Jones Jr, Shutterstock)

PLANS have been approved to revitalise the historic core of the University of Aberdeen’s King’s College campus.

Parts of the learning estate were first built in the 15th century, with the approved blueprint set to ‘revive’ and safeguard redundant buildings, accommodate increased student numbers and allow for more flexible teaching.

The university said that as well as helping it modernise its teaching spaces, the project will also maintain the ‘magnificent’ façades of the historic buildings in the campus and avoid the need to build anew, thereby providing new teaching capacity in an environmentally way.

The development will include the creation of a new flagship atrium which will act as a central forum space with connections to surrounding buildings, as well as improvements to the interiors of several areas including the Old Senate Wing, Book Stack and Cromwell Tower.

The approval forms part of the university’s £50 million ambition to revitalise its wider campus, which includes the relocation of its business school to a new single-site home at the site of the currently dormant Johnson Halls, which received separate planning approval. Work on the learning institute’s new science teaching hub, located off Machar Drive, is also already ‘well advanced’ with the building scheduled to open in 2022.

Professor Alan Speight, vice principal of the University of Aberdeen and lead on the King’s Quarter and Johnston Halls redevelopment plans, commented, “Today’s decision by the planning committee marks a milestone in our transformational plans to create a vibrant learning environment at the historic heart of the campus, and will provide a focal point for engagement with the local community.

“These new spaces will provide a modern, adaptable, high quality teaching environment for undergraduate and postgraduate students that will be ideally suited to working across academic disciplines, in line with the interdisciplinary aims of our Aberdeen 2040 strategy.

“I am pleased that in their recommendation to the planning committee, the planning officers noted our careful consideration of the historic environment to enable underused listed buildings to be brought back into productive use, which reflects the detailed work we have undertaken on the proposals over the past two years.”

Professor George Boyne, Principal of the University of Aberdeen, added, “With work on our new Science Teaching Hub well advanced, and planning approval now granted on both our King’s Quarter and business school developments, we are making significant progress towards meeting the needs of modern students with contemporary, adaptable and technology-ready facilities that will continue to attract the best and brightest to Aberdeen.”