OH&S News

Combined histories come alive with Aberdeen plan

George Simpson, from Oldmeldrum, has envisioned recycling an oil rig and transforming it into a visitor attraction by housing it in the historic quarry, which gave the ‘Granite City’ its name.

The proposal, which would include a museum, underwater restaurants and diving bell trips, has been endorsed by Caroline Bos, co-founder of the Amsterdam-based architectural practice UNstudio, EnergyVoice reported.

The duo met at an architects’ convention in Aberdeen in May, where Bos was invited to speak about her company’s projects, which include the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam and the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart. He shared with her his ideas for the Rubislaw Quarry site.

‘I find the idea interesting, as we are always predisposed to innovative, technological public projects that push the boundaries,’ Bos was quoted as saying.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}‘There was a lot of talk at the convention about what will happen in Aberdeen after the oil goes,’ Simpson said. ‘The topic came up that we should be pushing for developments of the future along the same lines as the V&A [design museum] in Dundee.

‘I sent her copies of my drawings and she came back to me saying that she thought they were pretty spectacular. And I thought if I got this sort of result from one of my peers, it could be an idea that I should start to push,’ Simpson said.

Troubled afterlife

Rubislaw Quarry opened in 1740 and for more than 200 years supplied an estimated six million tonnes of granite to Aberdeen’s buildings, as well as London’s Waterloo Bridge, the terrace of the British Houses of Parliament and the Forth Bridge, near Edinburgh. It ceased production in 1971.

Since 2011, there has been much debate about the quarry’s afterlife. Aberdeen businessman and the quarry’s co-owner Hugh Black has spent the past seven years lobbying the Aberdeen City Council to transform the pit into an inland diving spot and visitor centre that would celebrate and capitalise on Aberdeen’s granite heritage. The Lands Tribunal of Scotland rejected that application in January.

A £68 million ($AUD120.4 million) application by a rival Canadian developer Carttera to build 299 flats resembling blocks of granite overlooking the site was also recently rejected by members of the council’s planning development management committee.

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