Aberdeen Student Housing, Scotland

These two student residential buildings had to fit into a larger idea for the campus, as well as standing on their own as individual designs. Located at the top of the embankment overlooking the River Dee, they take the form of Scottish tower houses and use traditional materials.

From this process came a whole series of crucial decisions: the decision to divide the accommodation into two; to site one tower romantically on the lip of the escarpment, the other more picturesquely attached to an existing building; to make use of the prime geometries of square and circle; to break the prime geometries into differentiated volumes that accentuate character and provide practical solutions; to subdivide the accommodation with only five study-bedrooms per floor; to offer the common room on the top floor as the ultimate definer of geometry; to study the planning on consecutive floors closely so that the tower geometry – square and round – does not constrain the layout, but emerges clearly only as the crowning shape.