Torry Battery overlooks one of the best dolphin viewing points in Europe. We're planning to create a building that will allow people to view this – our city, beach and bustling harbour – in comfort, for the first time.
– Fiona McIntyre
A proposal has been put forward to build a new £10m (US$12.7m, €11.2m) visitor centre overlooking the harbour in Aberdeen, Scotland, with the new attraction dedicated to watching wild dolphins.
To be built at the harbour's entrance inside the Torry Battery – a former artillery placement used in both World Wars – the Greyhope Bay organisation has submitted plans to turn the site into a dolphin observation and leisure and marine science facility, a change in its original plan which would have seen the facility built in Greyhope Bay near the city.
The proposed location is a good fit for the centre, with the Battery's car park already an active site for wildlife conservation charity the RSPB, which since 2013 has used it for its 'Dolphinwatch' scheme. Greyhope Bay’s “Dolphins at the Battery” plan would complement this through a phased development that would start with a viewing platform, exhibition space, café and toilets.
To be built in multiple phases, the first for the multi-million-pound venture would cost just £200,000 (US$255,000, €225,000) and could be completed by June 2019.
"Torry Battery overlooks one of the best dolphin viewing points in Europe," said Fiona McIntyre, managing director of Greyhope Bay. "We're planning to create a building that will allow people to view this – our city, beach and bustling harbour – in comfort, for the first time."
Plans for the development are being designed by Professor Gokay Deveci of Scott Sutherland School of Architecture at Robert Gordon University, working with Bryan Gray at Dynamix Modular. The initial phase would use two repurposed shipping containers, clad in Scottish larch wood and fronted with glass for viewing purposes.
"Using a pre-existing structure delivers an affordable and fully recyclable unit with minimum impact on site and a ready-made canvas to build a unique window to the sea," said Deveci.
The first phase, according to McIntyre, will be free to visit with an option to make a donation to the centre. She added: "We have been greatly encouraged by Aberdeen City Council’s enthusiasm for the site to be utilised, and Historic Environment Scotland’s positive reaction to our ideas."