Colin Farquhar on Making Aberdeen a Better Place

Revitalising the high street and giving empty commercial spaces a new lease of life is what we do best at Hammond Associates.

Along with the help our friends over at Outer Spaces, we strive to bring commercial landlords and arts-based charities & organisations together, creating new opportunities for artistic output that give back to the local community while simultaneously aiding landlords by easing commercial rates.

Colin Farquhar, Outer Space’s recently appointed project manager, has always had a passion for the arts. With much of his career spent immersed in the world of cinema, Colin has seen first-hand how arts and culture can make such an impression on peoples lives, bringing folks from all corners of the world together over the enjoyment and sometimes cathartic-esque feelings we often experience with the arts that seldom bubble to the surface elsewhere in our day-to-day lives.

In addition to his role within Outer Spaces, Colin is an avid columnist for Scottish newspaper, The Press & Journal, and regularly publishes his thoughts on national current affairs. Holding the arts close to his heart, Colin has written multiple articles expressing his feelings on how the infrastructure of his hometown Aberdeen could be better managed, and one of his latest articles casts a spotlight on the city’s glaring under-use of empty commercial buildings.

He begins by setting the scene inside Taqa House, now also known as Pavilion 1, a vacant former energy company office:

“Glass and suspended ceilings, four storeys high, commanding views over Wester and Easter Ord, toward South Deeside – 42,000 square feet of emptiness.”

His imagination quickly becomes flooded by visions of the space’s transformation into a new artists’ community; a place where people can come to create and showcase art as well as build networks and grassroots collectives.

“All that glass floods the rooms with light. You can watch the sun dip behind the horizon.

For me – someone who spent so much time in a cinema, with very little external light to speak of – at the right time of day, Pavilion 1 is almost heavenly.”

As part of Outer Spaces, Colin’s goal is the same as ours: to turn empty commercial buildings into thriving artistic & charitable hubs that allow individuals and organisations alike the ability to facilitate their work. As a result, they help to give back to the local community by opening up social doors and rejuvenating the increasing number of tired and outdated local high-streets that are all too often awash with a sea of boarded up windows and bedraggled ‘To Let’ signs.

Further in his article, Colin highlights an example of where Aberdeen made a step in the right direction when it re-opened Union Terrace Gardens earlier this month to hold SPECTRA (Scotland’s Festival of Light) for the first time since 2018.

With countless articles waxing lyrical about how the festival brings people closer together through a mixture of light, sound, and eye-catching visual art, it’s no surprise that people like Colin are pleading for more city centres to “let art make our lives brighter”.

He asks the question:

“What other things can we reimagine, softly or not, around what we sadly perceive as a formerly beautiful city centre, instead of just a beautiful one? I think of the empty John Lewis building at the head of George Street. I think of an empty former police headquarters. I think of a certain empty, but loved, cinema.”

There are so many opportunities for vacant commercial buildings to be transformed into hubs for charitable & arts-based output that benefit all aspects of the surrounding areas and people who visit.

The voice of positive change is growing louder every day, and we’re doing all we can to help make it happen.

If you’d like to read Colin’s full article, you can do so here. Otherwise, it’s farewell for now from Hammond Associates – your charity property provider!

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