NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Shortlist picked for Aberdeen's £140m City Garden plan

Union Terrace Gardens
Image caption Union Terrace Gardens are the focus of the £140m project

One of the world's leading firms of architects has been named as a finalist in the design competition to transform Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens.

Foster and Partners of London are among six teams now through to the second stage of the contest.

A total of 55 submissions were made for the £140m City Garden Project.

It follows an international design contest for the controversial project to raise the level of the Victorian gardens.

Other teams on the shortlist are Diller Scofidio and Renfro of New York, Snohetta from Oslo/Gareth Hoskins Architects of Glasgow, Gustafson Porter of London, and two from the Netherlands - Mecanoo and West 8.

It is hoped the proposals will go on show to the public later in the year.

Sir Duncan Rice, former principal of the University of Aberdeen who chaired the jury panel, said: "That the competition attracted high-level interest from around the world is a great compliment to Aberdeen city and shire.

"The jury agreed unanimously on the six finalists and is excited about the potential of their visions for the City Garden Project."

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), which is managing the contest, said the calibre of the submissions was "exceptional".

Aberdeen oil services tycoon, Sir Ian Wood, has pledged £50m of his own money for the project.

During an earlier public consultation process, 55% of respondents said they did not support the new square.

However, councillors backed taking the plans to the next stage.

Aberdeen City Council hopes construction of the square could be completed by 2016, if the project proceeds.

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