Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Union Street to get an Umbrella!

Halliday Fraser Muro's dramatic proposals  for Union Street, Aberdeen - fantastic!
Halliday Fraser Munro's dramatic proposals
for Union Street, Aberdeen - fantastic!
You know, I wasn't surprised to read last week that most of Scotland's main streets have terrible air quality and are heavily polluted. This information comes from Friends of the Earth Scotland who are a bunch of middle-class sandal-wearing do-gooders. Nevertheless, it is an interesting read and incredibly important for most expert planners - like me.

Streets in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Paisley are all listed in the FOE league tables with Hope Street in Glasgow topping the table. Union Street in Aberdeen comes in at ninth which is incredibly disappointing - I expected it to be at number one as a result of the rich food eaten by Councillors at their many receptions, the beer intake of rig workers and the sheep that are herded through this famous street on a regular basis.

Seriously though, if you set this information beside what the Scottish Government are saying about town centres through the Sir Malcolm Fraser Commission it's another devastating blow for the dreary environment called the Traditional High Street. As a concept it is completely dead - as a reality, FOE say it could be fatal!

Now as you know, I'm a big fan of Halliday Fraser Munro, the Aberdeen based firm of architects who have been responsible for almost everything good that has been proposed for the Silver City this century. When John Halliday waves his big pencil around you just know that things are going to be exciting! So when he revealed his latest proposals for Union Street to an awe-struck world I'm sure many architects who have been grieving since the death of their hero Le Corbusier many decades ago sat up and took notice. Indeed Big John has the answer to the polluted streets problem wrapped up!

HFM are proposing that the street becomes an indoor shopping mall - but with taxis (electric I'm sure). It's a stroke of genius isn't it? There will be a clear "umbrella" canopy cover Union Street which will light-up at night - a bold idea and one that will save the Council a fortune in street lighting. Taxis will be protected from the rain and wind.  Destitute single parents, beggars and the bone idle will celebrate and make Union Street their home!
Another view of the fantastic proposals for Union Street  by Halliday Fraser Munro
Another view of the fantastic proposals for Union Street
by Halliday Fraser Munro

So if you want to join them for a night out, imagine this! You will be sitting in the middle of Union Street surrounded by seagulls sheltering from the rain. You will be tucking in to your Curried Stovies and Brose, washed down with a nice pint of heavy. You may be admiring a nice plump farmer's wife over a skinny latte. To your left are some fishermen fighting outside a bar. An ambulance arrives to remove the injured. A Jimmy Shand Tribute Band playing across the street drowns out the screams of pain. To your right, a bunch of neds from Mastrick are shooting up in the doorway of a bookies. You pay the bill and ask for a taxi. Moments later it stops at your table! You glide down the street in the back of the cab while people gesticulate and shout insults at you. It's incredibly convenient and a brand new take on eating out and getting home quickly!

Yet again we see Aberdeen leading the field in planning innovation. Lifts and escalators will provide pedestrian links to indoor shopping malls at Union Square, Trinity Centre, Bon Accord Centre and St Nicholas Centre. In fact all the worthwhile places in the city will be covered over. It will be a shoplifter's paradise. My hearty congratulations go out to everyone involved in this exciting proposal. It gets a gold star and a big tick in my little black book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog and true about the seagulls.