Jestico & Whiles update for university ‘gateway’

The University of Aberdeen will unveil an £800 000 regeneration of its landmark Town House building this summer, with interior designs by architect and design consultancy Jestico & Whiles.

The University of Aberdeen will unveil an £800 000 regeneration of its landmark Town House building this summer, with interior designs by architect and design consultancy Jestico & Whiles.

The 200-year-old property in Old Aberdeen has stood unused for 15 years, but it received a £250 000 Heritage Lottery Fund restoration and refurbishment award in June 2004. It will be converted into a ‘gateway’ to the university and the local area.

According to Jestico & Whiles associate Sniez Torbarina, the interior designs (pictured below) should strike a synergy by preserving the old, listed building while introducing modern and hi-tech elements.

The consultancy was appointed after a pitch at the end of 2004. Its earlier work at London’s Foundling Museum was influential in the appointment, according to Torbarina (DW 8 May 2003). ‘Very often a university client would not give as much attention to detail as a museum [such as The Foundling Museum] might. The University of Aberdeen is not choosing the formulaic approach of many similar institutions, but is being more inventive,’ she explains.

The three-storey Town House will contain reception and lounge areas on the ground floor, with a presentation room on each of the remaining floors. The top level features a pitched ceiling and will be the principal presentation area.

‘We would like to open up some areas and make other changes, however, there are limitations imposed by heritage regulations,’ adds Torbarina.

When it reopens at the end of June, the Town House’s primary function will be recruitment, introducing potential students to the university’s culture and courses. It will also be open for use by community groups and societies, as well as providing displays on Old Aberdeen’s history and attractions.

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