Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

SCHOOLHILL AND BLACKFRIARS STREET, ART GALLERY INCLUDING WAR MEMORIAL AND COWDRAY HALL, ROBERT GORDON'S COLLEGE ARCHWAY AND FORMER GRAY'S SCHOOL OF ARTLB19978

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
12/01/1967
Local Authority
Aberdeen
Planning Authority
Aberdeen
Burgh
Aberdeen
NGR
NJ 93884 6372
Coordinates
393884, 806372

Description

Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, 1885 with 1905 sculpture court to Art Gallery and 1925 War Memorial and Cowdray Hall (see Notes). Outstanding, 2-storey block of Rennaissance-style buildings constructed in distinctive polished, grey granite ashlar with pink Correnie granite dressings and detailing linked by vehicular arch. Moulded base course; rock-faced rusticated course rising to cill-course; moulded blocking course; plain ashlar freize; moulded cornice. Architraved and corniced, astragalled fixed-pane windows run length of ground floor with decorative roundels above.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S (principal) ELEVATION: 14-bay Art Gallery and 7-bay former School of Art linked by semi-elliptical arch form a continous run facing Schoolhill. Art Gallery with full-height engaged Corinthian columns flanking round-arched entrance with 2-leaf timber door; columns flanked by channelled pilasters; dentiled pediment above. Former School of Art has similar entrance bay arrangement with further pair of Corinthian columns replacing channelled pilasters. Arch (leading to Robert Gordon's College ' see separate listing) with channelled pilasters, tripartite fixed-pane linking corridor above with scrolled and arched pediment and fine, ornamental cast-iron gates and gate-piers with crown-finialled lanterns.

SW CORNER ELEVATION: Grey granite ashlar with curved quadrant colonnade and wide entrance doors to Cowdray Hall at outer quadrant bays flanked by Corinthian pilasters; dentiled architrave; garland and swag details. Steps at central quadrant area surround plinth with lion sculpture by W McMillan. W (Blackfriars Street) ELEVATION: Grey and pink granite as above. Blind portico to centre with shallow Corinthian pilasters flanked by broad sections of full-height channelled rustication. Windows to outer bays flanked by channelled pilasters.

Predominantly fixed multi-pane windows. Grey slate. Multi-pitched roof with broad multi-pane rooflights to N, S, E and W. Large oval cupola to central sculpture court of Art Gallery; fluted copper dome to War Memorial. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: Art Gallery: fine central sculpture court with bifurcated stair of black and white marble. Distinctive colonnaded sculpture court with columns of different coloured granite. Above, balustraded balconey. 1959 James McBey Print Room linked to main gallery at NE re-entrant angle. War Memorial: octagonal court rising to balustraded circular balcony at first floor; giant, arched recesses rise to domed ceiling. Cowdray Hall: curving, stepped stage area with pneumatic pipe organ; colonnaded mezzanine to rear; oak panelled dado. Doric-columned basement level with geometric plasterwork ceiling. Decorative cast-iron balustrades to hallway stairs; predominantly original brass fixtures. Timber-boarded cloak room with drop-leaf counter. Former Gray's School of Art: balustraded, bifurcated staircase at main entrance hall.

Statement of Special Interest

Aberdeen's Art Gallery is widely considered to be one of the most successful examples of its type in Scotland. The use of pink and grey granite is unusual and this complex of buildings, by one of the city's most renowned architects adds significantly to the streetscape. According to Mackenzie's apprentice, Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth, a visit to Italy circa 1883 inspired the adoption of a two colour treatment, apparently in deference to the use of sandstone and brick dressings of Simpson's Triple Kirk opposite (of which only the spire and East Free Church sections survive). This colour contrast extended to the neo-Georgian villas he designed in the 1890s.

The sculpture court at the Art Gallery was added by Mackenzie in 1905 using various types of granite mostly derived from local quarries including Rubislaw, Kemnay and Correnie. The principal gallery spaces have been restored following original designs by Mackenzie

The War Memorial and Cowdray Hall (by Mackenzie and his son Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie) were outlined before World War I but not carried out, and with alteration to the original design, until 1923-5. Both buildings are currently only accessible via the Art Gallery. The War Memorial interior is a particularly fine example of Neo-Classical work of the period. The quadrant corner was originally intended as a setting for an Edward VII memorial statue but due to the late building date, it instead received a stylised lion sculpture by W McMillan.

References

Bibliography

Scottish Country Life 'Beautiful Aberdeen: the Cowdray Hall War Memorial and Union Terrace Gardens', (July 1928) pp209; Chapman and Riley, 'The City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen ' Survey and Plan (1949) p.149; W A Brogden ' Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1986) p.29 Ranald MacInnes, Aberdeen, A guide (1992) p.156.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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