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King's College, Sports Pavilion, off University Road.

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1637 / 57°9'49"N

Longitude: -2.0999 / 2°5'59"W

OS Eastings: 394054

OS Northings: 808096

OS Grid: NJ940080

Mapcode National: GBR SC5.ZC

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.Q67L

Entry Name: King's College, Sports Pavilion, off University Road.

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354543

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20095

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Tillydrone/Seaton/Old Aberdeen

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie of A Marshall Mackenzie & Son; 1939-41. 2-storey, 7-bay, roughly square-plan, symmetrical Modern sports pavilion on university campus, facing playing fields to E; with 3-bay centre breaking wallhead and paired, dog-leg, concrete stairs with shared landing leading to continuous cantilievered balcony wrapping around to side elevations. Steel frame with brick infill, cement render; squared and snecked granite to S and W elevations with tooled dressings; coursed and squared granite to N elevation (squash courts). Cill course at ground floor. Bays separated by plain square pilasters. Multi-pane horizontal windows at ground floor. Full-height glazing above plain stallriser at 1st floor. Coved cantilevered cornice, wider to centre bays of E (principal) elevation. Staircase flanked by entrances.

INTERIOR (seen 2012): largely unaltered plan-form consisting of swimming pool at ground floor surrounded by enclosed changing rooms; 1st floor with former café overlooking pool to E; former squash courts to N and private dwelling to S. Swimming pool with glazed square tiling to dado and opaque glazed brick strip, plastered walls above, curved openings to changing rooms, concrete balcony at 1st floor. Some original timber cubicles to changing rooms. Some glazed and timber doors with original door furniture.

Non-original glazing. Flat felt roof. Predominantly original, painted metal rainwater goods, with dated hoppers.

Statement of Interest

A rare and largely-unaltered example of a Modern sports pavilion. The design of the building elegantly blends the Classical style of symmetry and proportion with the Modern movement ideas of light and the free plan. The Modern style is particularly suitable for sports and pavilion design and other examples include Penilee Sports Pavilion and Mountblow Football Pavilion (see separate listings).

The building adheres to the Modern movement principle of 'form follows function' with the changing rooms and swimming pool accommodated in a solid plinth giving way to a glazed first floor, wrapped by the continuous balcony, providing views over the playing field. The building is finished with the deep cantilevered cornice that gives the impression of a portico at the centre. There was a requirement for part of the building to be faced in granite in order to harmonise with the adjacent university buildings. Undressed granite, with the rock face exposed, is used to the rear of the building and the side elevation to denote the private accommodation and the squash courts.

The pavilion was built for the King's College University Athletic Club, but was also required to provide common room facilities for the whole college. The university required a multi-purpose sports facility but with flexible changing rooms to accommodate users to the swimming pool and playing fields. The size of the building was constrained by the adjacent university buildings to the N and W and the playing fields and tennis courts to the S and E, and the height of the building was limited so as not to obscure views of the Old Crown Tower.

Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie (AGR), joined his father's practice in 1902, and it subsequently became known as A Marshall Mackenzie and Son. AGR assisted his father in the Marischal College extension works, completed in 1906, a job which brought the practice national fame. Following his father's death in 1933 AGR was determined to strengthen the practice's work and experimented more in Modern design, evident in his work such as the additions to Douglas Hotel (1937) and St. Mary's Church (1937-9) (see separate listings) both in Aberdeen, as well as numerous other sports pavilions in the United Kingdom. After WWII the practice's core work was conservation work, with the National Trust for Scotland being the main client. As well as Marischal College and the sports pavilion the practice designed a number of buildings for the University of Aberdeen including the Botany Department (1922) and Forestry Department (1925).

The University of Aberdeen was founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland and is Scotland's third oldest university. King's College campus, in Old Aberdeen, is the main campus of the university, and is so called after the original name of the university. Some original King's College buildings still remain today such as King's College Chapel (from 1500) (see separate listing). In the 20th century the campus expanded resulting in the construction of new buildings. Early 20th century buildings, such as the New King's College (1912) and Elphinstone Hall (1927) (see separate listings) reflected the styles of the older buildings, however mid-later 20th century buildings, such as the King's College Sports Pavilion and Crombie Halls Of Residence (1953-6), embraced the architectural styles of the 20th century.

Scotland's place in the history of sport is exceptional. With the early origins of the games of curling and golf attributed to Scotland it is no surprise that our sporting-related architectural heritage is so rich and fascinating. Sport is an immensely significant part of our shared social and cultural history and one which continues to influence and shape our lives today.

List description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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