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Known as 'The Granite City' or less commonly, 'The Silver City', Aberdeen offers a host of stunning architecture, often made up of granite that has been quarried in and around the city. Alongside the beautiful old buildings that make up this fantastic city, Aberdeen has incredible juxtaposing modern architecture.
University of Aberdeen
Originally part of the University of Aberdeen, Marischal College has now been leased to the Aberdeen City Council. Although it is not open to the public, it is well worth visiting the exterior to marvel at the architecture. Located on Broad Street, just a ten minute walk from our Aberdeen hotel, this ‘Gothic Revival’ building is an impressive example, with many locals considering it an icon of the ‘Granite City’. Originally designed by Archibald Simpson in 1837, later modifications (spire, towers and pinnacles) such as the Mitchell Tower and frontage to Broad Street, were designed by Alexander Marischal MacKenzie at the turn of the 20th Century. A recent renovation has revived this architectural treasure.
King’s College and Chapel
The University of Aberdeen is made up of many historical buildings but the King's College and King's College chapel are the oldest, dating back to the late 15th Century. The chapel sits at the end of the college, recognisable by the magnificent and impressive 'Crown Tower'. The interior of the chapel is beautiful and contains rare decorations dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Bursting with its rich and long history, exploring this unique architectural treasure is a must when visiting Aberdeen.
Sir Duncan Rice Library
The University of Aberdeen’s Sir Duncan Rice Library is an incredible modern Aberdeen architectural gem that is a little awe-inspiring. The modern and stylish glass design spans 8 floors, the interior architecture is aesthetically quirky while adopting sleek curves that contrast with sharp square exterior. The library was created with the aim to be "a meeting place and a cultural centre for the University and the wider Aberdeen community", and as such, is open to the public, with a ground floor gallery offering exhibitions and displays. Designed by Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen, the building’s design aims to 'mark the ice and light of the north'.
His Majesty's Theatre
Designed by architect Frank Matcham, this Aberdeen architectural gem is incredibly impressive Edwardian building entirely constructed of granite. The 100+ year old large structure has an imposing copper covered dome, and after a £7.8 million modern glass extension, His Majesty’s Theatre offers a fantastic architectural contrast between the old and new. The interior is equally impressive with a Roman classical style and three curved balconies, accommodating around 1,500 visitors. Located just opposite Union Terrace Garden, His Majesty’s Theatre is an Aberdeen architecture ‘must see’. You can explore the interior with the ‘Backstage Tours’.
Town House and Tolbooth
Located at the east end of Union Street in the heart of Aberdeen, the Aberdeen Town House and Tolbooth is a beautiful granite structure oozing history and heritage, making it a major landmark in the city. Built between 1867 and 1873, the house is an impressive four-storey, 16-bay building that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.
The Flemish-medieval turreted Town House has a Neo-Gothic style with clock tower and spire on the west side that is particularly charming. The east side incorporates the 17th century Tolbooth that has a castellated tower with clock. The interior is equally as impressive, and The Tolbooth Museum is worth a visit to learn more about the history.