Youngsters become shop designers

Hundreds of Aberdeen school pupils have been drawing up designs for their ideal shop on Union Street.

Taking inspiration from the Union Street Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), the Aberdeen City Council-led project invites young people to imagine the kind of premises what would entice them to visit the city centre.

Experts from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment and from the Aberdeen Society of Architects have been on hand to share with pupils the principles of good urban design.

Ideas emerging from a Primary 6 session at Skene Square School included “Space Life” – a shop selling space toys like rockets.

Describing their model, pupil Sandra Caune said: “There’s a big blue window on the first floor that we’re going to put planets on so it’s like space.

“It means you would be able to see outside to Union Street too.”

Another group designed an aquarium – “Mish and Fish” – with an image of a gaping-jawed shark on the façade to grab people’s attention.

Callum Houston’s group dreamed up “Story Café”, a restaurant selling kids’ favourite snacks such as donuts and hot dogs.

He said: “We have three mascots and pictures of food in the window.”

The project was developed by the Council’s CARS Project Officer, the Aberdeen Urban Studies Trust, and the Aberdeen Heritage Trust, with support from Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeen Inspired.

Other schools taking part include Albyn, Heathryburn, Kittybrewster, Middleton Park and Robert Gordon’s College.

A selection of drawings and models will go on public display at Aberdeen Arts Centre from December 4-9.

Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “Union Street has provided a spectacular canvas for the imagination and the project will offer an insight into how young people would like to see the city centre evolving.”

CARS is a £2.4 million building improvement programme for historic properties on Union Street, jointly funded by Aberdeen City Council and Historic Environment Scotland with further support from Aberdeen Inspired.

Councillor Marie Boulton, the Council’s spokesperson for the City Centre Masterplan, said: “The pupils’ ideas and unbridled enthusiasm give us a sense of what’s possible for Union Street, which remains loved by people of all ages.

“What’s equally exciting is that CARS is providing the means to help make real and lasting improvements to the city’s heart.”

Photograph shows P6 Skene Square School pupils (top to bottom): Natasha Raj, Lusi Pelka and Callum Houston.