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Sleeping Beauty:
Adaptive reuse of former Westburn Country House to George Washington Wilson Archive and Aberdeen Photography Centre
Year 3 Architecture
Semester 1
Lecturers: Conrad Wiedermann, Neil Lamb, David Vardy

The majority of work for architects involves work to existing buildings, in established settings. Therefore, before you start to work as Architectural Assistant, it is fitting that students tackle the adaptive reuse of existing buildings in year 3. Westburn House is a minor work of arguably the major Architect of Aberdeen. The house was designed by Archibald Simpson as a family home in the country for the David Chalmers in 1839. Since then Aberdeen has extended its boundaries and population considerably and Westburn House – after a chequered history of various uses and neglect – is now a sad, boarded up husk of its former glory; yet it’s potential remains: to be reawakened by a new purpose and to form the centrepiece of Woodburn Park again. Aberdeen City has been the owner of Westburn Park for more than 100 years and in constraint times is struggling to find a culturally and commercially viable use for the property that retains it in public ownership. The building holds a top category A listing and because of years of neglect it also has the sad accolade of being on the Buildings at Risk Register.