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Scott Sutherland School turns back the hands of time with alumni visit


A group of former students from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, who graduated some 58 years ago, enjoyed a tour of Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) new £16million facility this autumn.

Scott Sutherland alumni tourThree architects who gained their diploma in architecture in 1957 were given a guided tour of the new Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment building by Head of School, Professor David McClean, on Friday, October 23.

RGU alumni Alan Minto, Alison Ewan and Marnoch Johnston got the chance to run their eye over the latest addition to RGU’s modern Garthdee campus which welcomed its first students in September.

The group were some of the first students to graduate from the Scott Sutherland School when it first opened at Garthdee, after originally studying at Schoolhill in Aberdeen city centre.

During their one hour tour the group saw the school’s teaching facilities and design spaces which included a scale model of Union Street and models of local landmarks.

Professor McClean also showed the group one of the school’s 3D printers and the models it is capable of producing from a computer design.

Mr Minto said: “We were very privileged to be shown round the school of architecture by Professor McClean, who we are delighted to learn is a product of the school himself.

“He spent a lot of time with us and took us through all the facilities and technology which are now available in the new building. It’s quite different to what we had available almost 60 years ago.

“We were amazed at the advance in the equipment, the facilities available to the students and the comprehensive education they receive.  However, it was heart-warming to see first year students drawing on a proper drawing board, as we did.   

“Students at the school now are very fortunate and it should never be forgotten that it all started with Aberdeen Architect Tom Scott Sutherland's generosity when he gifted his mansion to house the school in 1956.”

Mrs Ewan added: “Professor McClean gave us a fascinating tour of the new building which was a real eye opener. We didn’t have any technology to work with during our time at the school but we did have a lot of fun during our studies.

“During our coffee after the tour we were all gobsmacked at what we had seen. What a marvellous building.”

Mr Johnston said: “It was a privilege to be shown round the new school building by Professor McLean. Its reputation has always been at the highest level and the magnificent facilities available to students which we were shown will nourish their development as they head for careers in the field.”

Throughout the tour the group took their own photographs on digital cameras and tablet devices so they could share what they learned with fellow classmates from their year who could not make it along for the visit.

Professor David McClean said: "It was a great pleasure to show the Architecture alumni of 1957 around our new building.

“The experience clearly reminded them not only of their own experience as the first students at Garthdee House after its donation to Robert Gordon Institute of Technology (RGIT) by Thomas Scott Sutherland, but also of the distance that education has travelled in terms of the facilities that contemporary students are provided with.

"At the same time, the fundamental ethos of architecture education remains and was visible to them in practice. Our alumni community is very important to us, and their visit was once again testament to the enduring loyalty that so many of our graduates have for the Scott Sutherland School."

View an image library of the group’s tour

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Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport