Aberdeen, Scotland: the old and the new through architecture and street art

Looking back on my time in Aberdeen, Scotland while waiting to join the cruise ship, my main interest lay in discovering the contrast between the old architecture of the city and the modern street art: the latter enhancing what could otherwise be seen as a very grey city with the granite buildings dominating the cityscape.

Aberdeen Architecture (Photos: Anne Newman)

The architecture of Aberdeen is described as Flemish-Gothic in style in recognition of the close trade links between Aberdeen and Flanders.

Aberdeen Architecture (Photos: Anne Newman)

Walking the streets of Aberdeen is a real eye opener as you come across amazing pockets of pleasure in amongst the granite city. The beautiful Union Terrace sunken gardens, opened back in 1879 to the public, were a real delight to wander through.

The Union Terrace sunken gardens of Aberdeen (Photo: Anne Newman)

To my delight works of art were placed strategically throughout the two and half acres of winding paths, flower beds and grassed areas. My favourite was definitely the mirrored unicorn especially as the unicorn is Scotland's official national animal. The one below was created by Rob Mulholland and if you are on Instagram you can out more of his work by clicking here.

Unicorn by Rob Mulholland, Aberdeen sunken gardens (Photo: Anne Newman)

But Aberdeen is really known for its phenomenal array of street art and it was impossible to choose a favourite... apart from this one of course!!

Greyhound on an Aberdeen wall - artist unknown (Photo: Anne Newman)

But lets get on with studying more complicated pieces to see which of these you find the most appealing. Or at least, if you don't like street art, which one you find the most interesting or perhaps even intriguing as is a work by Portuguese graffiti artist Bordalo II's Endangered Dreams Unicorn sculpture, made entirely of trash.

 Endangered Dreams Unicorn sculpture by Bordalo II, Aberdeen (Photo: Anne Newman)

Don't forget that to create these works of art the artists often have been hoisted high into the air balancing precariously on the edge of a platform attached to a crane!! Not my idea of how to go about painting a picture!! The two remarkable works shown below would definitely have been done this way. On the left we have Man with Dog by Glasgow based Australian born street artist Sam Bates, aka SMUG and on the right Mother, Father, Child by UK artist Helen Bur featuring her two friends feeding their new born baby.

L: Man with Dog by Sam Bate (aka SMUG) R: Mother, Father, Child by Helen Bur, Aberdeen (Photo: Anne Newman)

I can highly recommend that if you are visiting Aberdeen the street art walk is well worth taking. All the works are of an exceptional artistic standard as you can see below with the works of Norwegian artists NIMI & RH74 titled The Green Lady of Crathes Castle which is of a girl holding a castle while sitting in a field of flowers. This painting is inspired by the legend of the Green Lady of Crathes Castle which is nearby. And Boy With Seagulls by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is delightful as he scales the side of the Union Plaza building.

L: The Green Lady of Crathes Castle by NIMI & RH74 R: Boy with Seagulls by Ernest Zacharevic, Aberdeen (Photo: Anne Newman)

There is so much to see and so if you like this type of art work please check out the siter below.

Where to find Street Art in Aberdeen
Pictures and information about the street art murals of Aberdeen created as part of the Nuart festivals

I want to conclude today with Aberdeen's version of the Neurodiversity Umbrella Project in celebration of the 1 in 5 people who have a different mind.

The Umbrella Project Aberdeen 2023 (Photo: Anne Newman)