All News

Plans for solar energy at James Hutton Institute

An application has been submitted by the Dundee Renewable Energy Society for an array of solar panels on a 6.25 ha site north of the A90 opposite Bullionfield to supply power to the James Hutton Institute, estimated at over 25 per cent of their considerable energy use. The plans involve changes to access from the A90, under which the cables would pass, and removal of a considerable amount of woodland. The applicants propose some replanting and state that the visual impression will remain of a wooded site, as a strip of trees alongside the A90 would be retained.

Our planning group will be examining the proposals in more detail.

The application reference is 21/00670/FULL.

20-Minute Neighbourhoods

A talk by Dr Husam AlWaer

Dundee Art Society Gallery, 17 Roseangle

After the loss of the 2020-21 season, we plan to resume our programme of evening talks on Thursday 21 October 2021.

Dr Husam AlWaer’s presentation will challenge us to consider the benefits of living locally and will examine the need to redesign how we live, in the face of climate crisis and in the wake of Covid. Can you easily get everything you need within 20 minutes of where you live? The concept of the 20-minute neighbourhood is a way to radically reconsider space; and the idea offers many solutions.

Dr AlWaer is an architect, planner, urbanist and award winning author. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee and has a focused interest in the past and future of sustainable places, neighbourhoods and cities.

 

 

Proposals for central corner site

Dundee City Council has received an application for the conversion and change of use of the six-storey former Royal Insurance building at the corner of Whitehall Crescent and Crichton Street.

This is a very prominent – and potentially prestigious – city centre location. The existing building, designed by the Parr architectural practice, was erected in the early 1970s on a site which had been left unfinished under the Improvement Act a century earlier. Here once stood the Old Custom House.

The new proposals, to designs by Jon Frullani Architect, involve conversion of the upper floors to form fourteen flats. The existing fenestration and curtain walling would be removed and the building re-clad in masonry with new window openings.

The Trust supports the principle of residential use here, as it will help support city centre businesses and services. The appearance of the building will be the major factor in our consideration of the application. The application can be viewed on the Dundee City Council website under planning reference 21/00636/FULL.

Dundee Civic Trust Student Awards 2021

The Civic Trust’s second annual Student Award, run in association with the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Dundee University, gives recognition to three top students from the Department.

The winner of the Award is Evan McColl, who is a member of the Hilltown Collective – Sustainable Urban Community group. Evan produced an excellent, comprehensive and well-thought-out blueprint for transforming the Hilltown area.

After extensive research into the different critical elements operating against the Hilltown functioning as a ‘great space’, Evan’s work shows how the southern part of the district could be transformed into a fully formed neighbourhood. The vision comes complete with an urban farm and mixed-use core incorporating a number of uses. These include a library and café, residential units with workshops and gallery space, multi-generational housing, food hall, plaza area with outdoor seating, theatre and cinema. The plan also includes a pedestrian and cycle skyway link and envisages the roof spaces of the existing Dallfield multis being adapted to form roof gardens and games courts.

Evan’s submission also provides drawings and diagrams of environmental benefits, including a biomass boiler providing underfloor heating to public areas; air source heat pumps with underfloor heating for residential areas; photovoltaic arrays on roofs; and green walls providing vertical garden space within housing.

The runners up are Sean Noon, with an exciting design for a new central sports centre for the city; and Nguyenova Thao Vi, who envisaged extending the University campus towards the River Tay, with a new Library built partly over the water.

The entries were examined by a judging panel from Dundee Civic Trust. Our Chairman, Donald Gordon, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support, encourage and reward the excellent work being done in the Department by our future architects and planners.  How the city will look in the years to come may depend to some extent on the learning and inspiration that they acquire as students.’

Cameron Wilson, the Head of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Dundee, commented: ‘The prize winners will be pleased and honoured to be announced as recipients of the Dundee Civic Trust Student Award. A “thank you” to the Civic Trust for your energies and continuing to support this award for our students.”

The awards will be presented to the students at a later date.

East End Eden

Details of the long-awaited proposals to bring the Eden Project to Dundee were revealed in the local press on 21 May. Following a feasibility study, the extensive site of the former gas works between East Dock Street and Broughty Ferry Road has been identified as the preferred location.

Two hundred years ago, this was where the waters of the Tay estuary met the shore below the eastern ‘sea braes’. The site affords much creative potential. Eden Project’s plans envisage a repurposed gasholder dominating the skyline, a massive walled garden and a bridge spanning East Dock Street and the railway, providing a link with City Quay.

The visitor experience will be organised around a series of nine ‘Guilds’, inviting alternative ways of perceiving the world. This is an echo of the city’s familiar Nine Incorporated Trades.

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed with the owners of the gas works site. After a further three to four months of design work, Eden Project Dundee intends to release further details.

Dundee Civic Trust has been very supportive of the plan to establish Scotland’s Eden Project in the city. We look forward to the development of this addition to our growing number of visitor attractions.

https://www.edenproject.com/2021/05/eden-project-signs-agreement-preferred-dundee-site

Members’ Zoom Talk: Art for All

The Dundee Civic Trust joint meeting with the Friends of Dundee Heritage Trust will be hosted this year by the Friends, using Zoom. Our members will have received an invitation to join this event at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 24 February.

The speaker, Matthew Jarron, is Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee and author of the book Independent & Individualist: Art in Dundee 1867-1924. A former Chair of the Scottish Society for Art History, he is also Secretary of the Abertay Historical Society and coordinator of the Public Art Dundee project.

Dundee has an extraordinary variety of public art across the city, including sculptures, murals, mosaics and more. This illustrated talk will tell the story behind these innovative artworks, with a particular focus on the pioneering public art programme of the 1980s and 1990s.

More Student Homes?

Proposal of Application Notices have been submitted to the council for two potential student housing developments. One of these is a proposal for demolition of the former West Ward Works on Guthrie Street to make way for purpose-built accommodation with ancillary facilities. The other set of plans would see conversion of the former Dundee College buildings on Constitution Road, which would seem a welcome solution for this prominent eyesore.

The Trust will be keeping an eye on the details of these proposals as they unfold.

Dundee: Vision for 2040

The Trust’s Vision for Dundee in 2040:

  • a diversified city centre with strengthened city neighbourhoods as places for people to live, work, learn and visit;
  • A ’20-minute city’, where everyone can walk or cycle for essential needs and one that is compact with limits to
    the expansion of the built-up area;
  • a well-connected city with opportunities for all its people, achieved by developing skills, fostering business innovation and supporting our learning institutions and attractions;
  • a city where the best in design is encouraged to enhance our unique environmental setting and heritage.

These are aspirations; and with cooperation and foresight many of them will be achievable in the
timeframe that we are considering.

Read the full Vision document here.

Dundee Maritime Trail

Recently launched, Dundee’s new Maritime Trail has been the product of nine different bodies and individuals whose work has brought together Dundee’s connection with its maritime world. The trail covers a two kilometre route going east from the V&A.

There is a great (and still being developed) website which can be accessed here:

http://www.dundeemaritime.co.uk/

The website gives you detailed information on 21 parts of the trail as well as providing a downloadable map. It is very up to date, with information on the development at Waterfront Place, east of V&A Dundee, which is under construction.  It states, ‘The landscape has been designed to reflect coastal geography with dune-like landscaping leading down to an urban beach. A maritime themed interactive play park and a travel hub building with cycle hire will also be available.’

There are lots of links to other online resources and various videos so there is plenty to occupy you. Various historical photographs of the area may also be viewed, so you can see how things have changed over the years. This website is well worth a visit and the contributors are to be congratulated for producing another valuable resource for the city and the tourists visiting Dundee.

 

Esports Arena

We have heard that the architects who are taking part in the feasibility study for the proposed esports arena to the east of Slessor Gardens are no longer to be acting for the developers, Northern Lights Arena (NLA) Europe.

This is a setback, but it is to be hoped that the developers are sufficiently committed to make further progress with this exciting venture, which is so appropriate for Dundee.