Architecture students envision new settlement in Firth of Forth

Cramond IslandA group of final year students from Robert Gordon University's Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment in Aberdeen will be exhibiting their cutting-edge vision for a new residential settlement in the Firth of Forth from tomorrow (Tuesday 22 June).

The Master of Architecture students, led by Visiting Professor Alan Dunlop, were charged with exploring the idea of a new settlement for Edinburgh as their final year project. They came up with the concept of building a visionary new island - Cramond Island - in the Firth of Forth which would accommodate a new way of living, promoting community and bringing residents into contact with their natural environment.

Fundamental to the design was the drive to create an ‘extraordinary place to live and work'. The design team were motivated by 5 principles which underpinned the whole project, first among which was the integration of coastal amenity and industry, combining the pleasurable and pragmatic aspects of living by the sea.

Secondly, they aimed to provide an exceptional transport infrastructure which would discourage car use. Instead a tram system, cycle paths and walkways would be integrated into the landscape to encourage residents to interact with the streets around them.

Cramond Island 2Sean Gaule (23), one of the students involved outlines the remaining principles: "We were very keen to implement the ‘two pint rule' so as to promote a sense of community. This translates into the ability to walk to purchase a pint of milk in the morning, and a pint of beer in the evening, thereby imbuing everyday activities with a rich depth of intimacy.

"Outdoor spaces will be designed through meandering and protected landscapes as a series of walkways and covered open spaces, with clusters of neighbourhoods forming intimate spaces of social interaction.

"Finally, the form of the island has been envisaged to incorporate an inherent incremental growth strategy, which will allow for development as and when necessary, whilst always forming a whole," he concluded.

Sean, who is from Waterford in Ireland, designed plans for an oyster farm on the island, consisting of a farmyard with processing sheds and a farm house, and a public promenade with a restaurant. He explained that together they encapsulate ideas of productivity and consumption, and industry and recreation.

Other amenities designed for the island include an algae farm which would generate sufficient biomass to fuel the island and a boating centre to promote safe training and encourage water-based activities.

Cramond Island 3Professor Dunlop said, "The students took on an extremely difficult problem: the creation of a new community; a place where people could live, work, raise their children and enjoy life. Over two semesters they master-planned a vision for the future and created an environment which was architecturally rich.

"Their work is remarkable and the plan for the town masterly, as are a number of individual projects for new housing, oyster farms, bio-diversity plants, life-boat and police stations. These make what would be considered ordinary, like a car-park or tram-stop, extra-ordinary."

Scale models and drawings of the students' conceptual designs will be on display at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment End of Year Show 2010, which will launch with a prize-giving ceremony and private showing on 22 June. The Show will then be open to the public from 23 June - 2 July (9am - 5pm everyday). It will take place at the School on Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, and entry is free.

Head of School, Dr David McClean, said, "The End of Year Show at the Scott Sutherland School is a celebration of the commitment, passion, ingenuity, and sheer effort of our students and staff. Spanning a broad range of disciplines relating to design and construction, many of the projects, such as those presented above, relate to ‘live' situations and contexts within the region. It is vital that a school such as ours engages with its local communities and constituencies, as well as looking further afield to explore areas relating to the global nature of our contemporary professions. Consequently, we believe there is much on display that will be of interest to the public, and welcome all those interested to the Show."

This year's showcase will provide an ideal opportunity for visitors to see emerging talent and engage in discussion about the ideas behind the work. The Show will enable people from all walks of life to view a range of final year undergraduate projects, spanning architecture, architectural technology, construction design and management and surveying. For more information, visit:

For images and further information on the island designs please visit:

Sean's website also contains images of his proposed oyster farm, as well as other images and information relating to his work:

Further images of the development proposals are available. Please contact me on the details below if you require these.

Pauline Smith
Communications Officer
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389