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Tuesday29 July 2014

Robert Gordon University picks BDP as sole designer for new campus

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BDP is to design the campus for Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University and six of its buildings, including a new school of architecture.

The university’s director of estates Mike Berry said that while it was unusual for one architect to design all the buildings within a masterplan, this approach would help to avoid “the mad eclecticism” associated with new campus’ designed by several architects.

He said: “We’re a long way from unpacking this — it’s a 10 year vision. We want to create a sustainable campus in the fullest sense and we’ve appointed an organisation with the resources to do that.”

BDP landed the commission to design the £115 million Garthdee campus, west of the city centre, beating competition from Foster & Partners, RMJM, Edward Cullinan Architects, Capita Architecture, Pascall & Watson, Richard Murphy Architects and Sheppard Robson.

The practice’s Glasgow office will oversee the university’s move to the campus — a project that involves working up an earlier masterplan by RMJM — together with the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Gray’s School of Art. The scheme will bring the two together in a single school of architecture and art.

BDP will design a pharmacy and life sciences building, a learning resource centre and a technology precinct. The work also involves integrating the outcomes of a “pedagogical analysis” of campus environments by DEGW .

John McManus, a director at BDP Glasgow, said: “Designing a new building for the architecture and art schools is a dream project. Many of my colleagues are graduates of the school that they will help to redesign.”

“DEGW is delivering a study for the university that examines leading-edge teaching paradigms around the world. It’s not a design exercise as such, but it will inform our approach to the masterplan. We’ll also work with specific user groups to work up the briefs for individual buildings.”

Associate head of Scott Sutherland’s school of architecture Bassam Bjeirmi also welcomed BDP’s appointment to design a new building for his department, adding: “We’ll use the design and building process as a teaching aid for our students. It’s going to be very useful from a research point of view.”

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