Civic Medal Award for innovative project to reuse the Bon Accord Baths

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Bon Accord Baths vision: Clubroom and Bon Accord Cafe project by student Arthur Morgan
A Civic Medal Award will be presented to an architecture student from the Scott Sutherland School at the opening of a new community exhibition that dives into theoretical potential futures for the Bon Accord Baths on Friday 17 May.

The presentation will take place at the Baths ahead of an Open Day on 18 May, and will bring together civic leaders including senior planners from Aberdeen City Council, the Aberdeen City Heritage Trust, trustees of Bon Accord Heritage and Professor Peter Exley, Dean of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment.

The Civic Medal Award will be awarded to the best third year architecture project with ideas to adapt the Baths as a modern and sustainable community destination for twenty-first century life that celebrates architectural conservation, adaptive reuse, and the role of heritage buildings.

The exhibition, ‘Lost + Found: Diving into the Future of the Bon Accord Baths’ will showcase a breadth of conceptual architectural projects, created by year 3 students from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment to adapt areas within the Baths into a community facility.


After visiting the Baths in September 2023, the students spent six months producing design studio work and had the opportunity to meet with Bon Accord Heritage to learn more about the Save Bon Accord Baths project before conceiving various forms of adaptive reuse.

The ideas presented as part of the exhibition, explore the sensitive reuse of existing structures of the building and transformative interventions, and follows an intensive period of analysis into the Baths past and current conditions, with each student celebrating an imagined future for the Bon Accord Baths.

Some of the projects on show include reinstating the pool as a public facility, transforming areas within the Baths into a performing arts centre, a hub for health treatment and exercise and a seasonal market for food and beverage from the North East.

Course co-ordinator and RGU lecturer Silvia Bassanese, said: “We are delighted to support the Save Bon Accord Baths community project, which aims to restore this important landmark in the city, and to be working with the Bon Accord Heritage group and wider public. The Bon Accord Baths house one of the few remaining pools of its type in the country and its social and architectural significance is undeniable.

“We have been really impressed by the ideas put forward by students as part of the ‘Lost + Found’ exhibition and can’t wait to invite members of the public to explore their ideas to restore and adapt the Baths. Many of the ideas are experimental and offer innovative ways to reclaim this valuable social space so that it has a sustainable future.

“The Bon Accord Baths has such a rich history, and we hope our exhibition can encourage serious conversation about the building’s future and engage the public and stakeholders to help adapt this beloved community building retaining authenticity and integrity. In my opinion it is an act of civic investment to ensure that the place and its values are passed on to future generations.”

Bruce Strachan from the Bon Accord Heritage Group, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Open Day and to be presenting a Civic Medal to the best student project that will be on show as part of the Scott Sutherland School’s exhibition, ‘Lost & Found: Diving into the Future of the Bon Accord Baths’

“We can’t wait to invite visitors to the Bon Accord Baths again so that they can explore some of the public areas of the building, including the remaining private bathing area and the large atmospheric pool hall. Visitors can learn about the project to restore swimming and complementary uses in the Baths and discuss our plans for the future.”

Peter Exley, Dean for the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment said: “As one of the oldest architectural schools in the UK, the Scott Sutherland School has a strong social ethos and is committed to putting forward ideas to build and restore sustainable spaces that reflect society’s aspirations. At our heart, is a commitment to work on projects that have real community value, and we are delighted to be working with the Bon Accord Heritage Group to bring the Baths back as a community-led resource that can be enjoyed by future generations of Aberdonians and visitors to the city.”

Bon Accord Heritage is a registered charity who has been campaigning to re-open the historic Category B-listed Bon Accord Baths on Justice Lane for several years. As part of the project, the group has gathered feedback on their proposals at an open forum with members of the public and professionals from Aberdeen City Council and Bon Accord Heritage, and the Open Day will give members of the public the chance to learn more about the history of the Baths and ideas for the future.

A digital exhibition, showcasing the Stage 3 student work has also been created to make the exhibition more accessible via a QR code (as shown in the gallery images.)

Main image shows Clubroom & Bon Accord Cafe vision by Scotts architecture student Arthur Morgan. Other gallery images at Bon Accord Baths (credit Martin Parker, Gatehouse Design Agency) include group image L-R: Silvia Bassanese, RGU The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment Academic Project Lead Theodore Allen, Architecture Student Bruce Strachan, Bon Accord Heritage Chairman Arthur Morgan, Architecture Student Hamish Munro, Architecture Students. Images also include QR code for the digital  ‘Lost + Found: Diving into the Future of the Bon Accord Baths’ exhibition.


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