Children’s Union Street shop designs go on public display

An exhibition of Union Street shop designs drawn up by school children opened today at the Aberdeen Arts Centre.

The project was run as part of the Union Street Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which is supported by Aberdeen City Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeen Inspired.

Nearly 400 youngsters from six primary schools – Albyn, Heathryburn, Kittybrewster, Middleton Park, Robert Gordon’s College and Skene Square – produced drawings and models to show how their ideal premises would look. The exhibition runs until December 9.

A selection of designs are on display, ranging from some gooey fun in the form of "Slimetastic" to "Passion 4 Pets" (complete with a dog assault course) to the "Sunflower Spa" to "The Duellers", a place to play card games. And, of course, there is no shortage of fabulous sweet, chocolate and ice-cream emporiums!

Councillor Marie Boulton, the Council’s spokesperson for the City Centre Masterplan, said: “The quality and diversity of the ideas brought forward by school children and their obvious affection for Union Street is truly inspiring.

“It was particularly interesting that the children wanted to offer experiences, like arts and crafts, as well as products.

“I’d encourage everyone to get along to the exhibition so they might enjoy the enthusiasm, vision and creativity on display.

“The Council is working with partners to help owners conserve historic buildings on Union Street and the exhibition offers no shortage of ideas for how empty properties might be used in the years ahead.”

Children were asked to style their shop to attract visitors while respecting the city centre's historic architecture.

As part of the project, classes visited Union Street to gain an understanding of how the iconic thoroughfare transformed the city centre some 200 years ago.

The schools project was developed by the Council’s CARS officer, the Aberdeen Urban Studies Trust, and the Aberdeen City Heritage Trust, and supported by The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment and the Aberdeen Society of Architects.

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. Grants are available to help pay for repairs and renovations.

A recent award was made in support of a shop front refurbishment, part of conversion work to bring an empty unit back into use as a restaurant.

The exhibition is free and can be viewed this week between 10am-4pm and 6pm-9pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from 1pm to 6pm on Sunday. 

* Main photograph shows Councillor Marie Boulton with some of the exhibits.