A City's Architecture: Aberdeen as 'Designed City', 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A City's Architecture

Aberdeen as 'Designed City', 1st Edition

By William Alvis Brogden


320 pages

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When considering the successful design of cities, the focus tends to be on famous examples such as Paris or Rome, with equally successful but smaller and more remote examples being ignored. In addition, the more diffuse patterns of settlement of the north and western parts of Europe are hardly considered at all in comparison to the tightly formed urban centres of the Mediterranean. However, the diffuse town/region is typical of our time, whatever the location. By analysing the development of a successful small city of ancient foundation which grew from a diffuse long settled and dense landscape, then demonstrated a slow growth as a tight urban form before an early adoption of the designed landscape as "town" lessons can be learned. These lessons may be useful in addressing the nature and growth of any city or city/region. The story of Aberdeen is just such an example. Not only are the materials for its long history present, its relations and concerns with the wider world are also well attested, and many of the ideas which directed or significantly impinged on the design of cities were tested there, or had their origin there. As its form accumulated and developed over such a long time Aberdeen also suggests the idea of an architecture of the city. This book examines the development and design of a city from three inescapable aspects: its location and character of the landscape; its own particular history of development; and its cultural responses to various waves of thought.


'One of the most comprehensive, readable and enjoyable books written about the architectural history of Aberdeen. A herculean labour of love, packed with humour, the substance is impressive and makes for a fascinating and revealing read. Distinguished and eloquent, I recommend this to Aberdonians and scholars alike.' Ken Hood, Partner, Hopkins Architects, UK 'this book’s thoughtful, in-depth analysis of Aberdeen, one of Scotland and the UK’s most distinctive cities, is unlikely to be superseded for a considerable time.' Miles Glendinning, Northern Scotland 'The text is supported by a fascinating collection of illustrations, the fruit of many years’ research. They are mostly contemporary with the buildings they represent, and they include numerous prints, maps and original architectural drawings, not previously reproduced'. Context

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Prologue; The landscape; The legacy of the medieval town; Early improvements; The designed city; From classic to Caledonian; Architecture for Everyman; Granite City; Learning from the city; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Bill Brogden is a critic, architectural historian, conservationist and consultant on design policy and master planning. After training as architect at the NC State School of Design, and post graduate study at Edinburgh and in London he has spent his professional life in research and teaching from Aberdeen.

About the Series

Ashgate Studies in Architecture

Ashgate Studies in Architecture
The discipline of Architecture is undergoing subtle transformation as design awareness permeates our visually dominated culture. Technological change, the search for sustainability and debates around the value of place and meaning of the architectural gesture are aspects which will affect the cities we inhabit. This series seeks to address such topics, both theoretically and in practice, through the publication of high quality original research, written and visual. Topics to be covered include the following: Architectural history and theory and their relationship to the development of the discipline, building conservation, heritage and creative adaptation. The formal and aesthetic values of architectural design, the diversity of its expression of identity, and its representation in other media. The impact of technological innovation on the materialisation of architecture and the questions surrounding environmental sustainability, experimentation and visionary design The social and psychological context of architectural production, its relationship to occupants, clients and to other creative and professional disciplines, and the political situation in which it is commissioned. Proposals will be welcomed which explore or connect aspects of these themes. Subjects which deal with individual architects, with specific buildings or building types, and the critical interpretation of historical and contemporary architecture from a theoretical or philosophical perspective are particularly encouraged. Architecture's embodiment of technical, social, and aesthetic aspects will also be emphasised.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development