These two new student residential buildings at Garthdee are the first stage in a programme of expansion that the Robert Gordon University hopes to be undertaking in the future. The siting and form of the buildings have therefore to fit into a larger idea for the campus as well as standing on their own as individual designs.

The campus will potentially have new faculty buildings in addition to those already there and these will have the characteristic large footprint of such building types. In broad terms the strategy will be to group these larger faculty buildings so that wedges of the existing lawns and trees give a sense of continuity to the fine Deeside parkland. By way of contrast new residential buildings can be limited in size. Each new residential building take account of the opportunities that part of the site being considered.

The first two buildings are located at the top of the embankment overlooking the Dee. They take the form of Scottish "tower houses" using traditional forms and materials. The opportunity is taken to enhance the tree-lined ridge of the embankment by planing the buildings in a romantic and pictorial manner.

The two buildings are also placed adjacent to the existing Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the School of Surveying. In the case of the square building, the opportunity is taken to mask the unsightly precast concrete flank wall of the existing lecture theatre. The circular building is positioned to take full advantage of the dramatic relationship with the bend in the River Dee. The circular form and the traditional pink harling colour partly hidden amongst the trees will provide a memorable new element within the campus and when seen through the foliage across the valley.

The advantage of the "tower house" form 5 that the area taken up by the plan is minimised. The buildings are small in bulk compared with the dominating scale of the line of trees. The combination of groups of faculty buildings set further up the slope and discreet residential buildings of limited size gives the best opportunity of preserving the very special landscape character of this part of Deeside.

Limited competition - February 1992
Building Contract - October 1992-December 1993