Sculptures that will mark a new pedestrian priority area in Aberdeen are nearing completion ahead of the project launch this summer.
Students from North East Scotland College (NESCol) drew up designs for totems on Broad Street, which is being redeveloped as part of Aberdeen City Council’s City Centre Masterplan.
The first year HND Art and Design students, based at the Aberdeen City Campus, are Margaret Brown, Sarah Calder, Calum Lawson and Catriona Tinsley.
Under the guidance of lecturers in 3D Design and Public Sculpture, they researched local history for inspiration – and colleagues at the NESCol’s Fraserburgh Campus have been now turning the four designs into reality.
Councillor Marie Boulton, the Council’s lead on the Masterplan, said: “It’s very exciting to have local students working together to help deliver the Broad Street project, which will create a dynamic new space in the heart of the city.
“As gateway sculptures, the students’ artwork will give residents and visitors a sense of Aberdeen’s rich history and its bright future. Broad Street is a great example of the kind of partnership working that is driving the City Centre Masterplan forward.”
The £3.2 million Broad Street project will be open to pedestrians, cycles and buses only, while offering flexible event space in front of Marischal College. The 1.5 metre artworks will be located on Upperkirkgate, Gallowgate, Queen Street and the south end of the redeveloped Broad Street, marking the start of the shared surface.
Fabrication and Welding students converted the sketches into CAD drawings, cutting out the component parts from sheets of stainless steel, and are now entering the final phase of constructing and welding the sculptures.
Catriona Tinsley’s Puffin’ Briggie sculpture (above) was inspired by a story of young boys watching their caps – placed on a slatted walkway – rise from the steam of passing trains.
She said: “I had no idea how the students would manage to turn my drawing into a sculpture and thought it would be challenging, but they’ve they interpreted it really well.”
Margaret Brown’s “Northern Light” sculpture draws inspiration from the city’s vibrant arts talent and nearby historical buildings.
She said: “The process has been fascinating, coming up to Fraserburgh and seeing my drawing as a three-dimensional scaled-up structure has been incredible. It’s a great example of team work in the college.”
Farbrication and Welding student Kirsty Godsman said: “Knowing that these sculptures will be on show in Aberdeen and that there will be so many people seeing them every single day – knowing that I had a part in helping build something – it’s a great achievement.”
Martin Summers, lecturer in Fabrication and Welding, said: “All the students involved have worked hard to find ways to overcome the challenges to ensure that the end results mirror the original concepts.
“This has involved a lot of idea generation and testing of approaches to ensure the right solutions are found to create sculptures which will stand for years to come in Broad Street.”
The Broad Street project is being funded by Aberdeen City Council, Marischal Square developer Muse, and the Scottish Government through sustainable transport charity Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme.
Sustrans Scotland Mileposts and Artworks Officer, Cosmo Blake, said: “Transforming an area to make it safer and easier to walk and cycle through is more than improving paths and junctions. It is also vital to make an area memorable and enjoyable to spend time in and travel through.
“Once completed, these sculptures will help to enhance the changes made to Aberdeen’s Broad Street and help to reflect the local area.”
* Main photograph shows (left to right) Ross Cartney; Margaret Brown, Jack Easdale; Kirsty Godsman.