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Marischal College, Broad Street, Aberdeen

Have a look at architecture in Aberdeen and you will most likely be contemplating granite. It is an interesting building material. Extremely hard and challenging to work with, yet extremely durable if well detailed. It can look distressingly dreich under damp grey clouds. But it can also sparkle in the right lighting conditions. Architects who have mastered the material have created some great buildings and Marischal College is one of the best.

Aberdeen has two universities, the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University. The University of Aberdeen is the older and was created from two colleges, those of King's College founded in 1495 and Marischal College founded in 1593. The two Colleges merged in 1860.

Marischal College which is depicted here, was built in two phases, the first dates from the 1830s and the second in 1906. This made it the second largest granite building in the world.

These days the building is leased to Aberdeen City Council. The Marischal Museum is housed there, but is no longer open to the public.

Marischal College was designed by several architects : Archibald Simpson 1837-44; Robert Mathieson 1873; W W Robertson 1888-9; Alexander Marshall Mackenzie 1893-1906. It is described as predominantly Tudor-Gothic granite collegiate complex based around central quadrangle and courtyard. Dominated by Mackenzie's 80 metre Mitchell Tower and outstanding multi-pinnacled and crocketed façade in the perpendicular Neo-Gothic style. Earlier Simpson building: Rubislaw granite, later work: Kemnay granite.

In spite of its large scale and sense of grandeur, there is a lightness of form as it rises to the skyline.

I find it a very fitting dramatic backdrop to the statue by Alan Beattie Herriot of Robert the Bruce on horseback below it. It recognises the debt owed by the city him. The city's Common Good Fund was developed as a direct result of a charter he issued in 1319 and fittingly was used to fund it. The charter Robert the Bruce holds aloft for all to see, the charter that he granted in 1319 giving the city fuedal rights over the Forest of Stocket.

Marischale College : http://www.abdn.ac.uk/about/campus/marischal-college-394.php

British Listed Buildings : http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200354544-aberdeen-broad-street-university-of-aberdeen-marischal-college-aberdeen

Forvie Media website : http://www.forviemedia.co.uk/_photo_10176609.html

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