NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Ayr, Ayrshire, United Kingdom, 2009/09/17 - Building contractors William Skinner & Son have successfully completed a £1.5 million refurbishment of the prestigious St Nicholas Shopping Centre in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The St Nicholas Shopping Centre and its sister centre the Bon Accord form the established prime shopping location for the City of Aberdeen. The centres are owned by Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership which is a joint venture between British Land Plc and Land Securities.
The St Nicholas Centre is a busy covered shopping centre leading from Aberdeen’s main street (Union Street) to the Bon Accord Shopping Centre.
The St Nicholas Centre has circa 13 million footfall per annum which equates to an average weekly footfall of 260,000. It contains 25 shop units within approx 100,000 sq ft.
Construction began in 1983 with the centre’s doors opening 1985.
20 years after the centre opening, it was beginning to look tired and dated.
The entrances to the St Nicholas Centre were unattractive, dated and uninviting. They failed to maximise impact and did not enhance the centre or attract customers. The mall entrance doors were cumbersome and heavy to operate restricting accessibility. There was a lack of an arrival experience, with the transition from inside to outside feeling awkward, rather than fluid and encouraging pedestrian flow.
Internally the centre finishes were visually busy and unnecessarily complicated. The interior was finished with terrazzo tiling on the floors, with marble and mirrors applied to the pilasters, and a variety of slats and tube structures completing the ceiling make up. The overall impression was dated.
The existing terrazzo floor was slippery, particularly during a wet day. A temporary solution of additional entrance mats had been added to soak up excess water, which added to the feeling of clutter.
The lux levels were low across the mall dropping to as low as 80 lux in some places, making the mall appear gloomy and dull.
It was suggested that the St. Nicholas Centre could be branded as a ‘younger’, more fashionable centre, reflecting the presence of the vibrant fashion retailers within.
The project comprised of the refurbishment of the shopping mall common areas (805 sq.m, (8665 sq.ft.)), including the renewal of floor surfaces, pilaster finishes, ceiling finishes, lighting features, upgrading the sprinkler system, replacing entrance screens and doors, installing new entrance signage/canopies and mechanical & electrical upgrades.
The concept for the refresh scheme is taken from geological formations and the use of light to create a space that is inviting, fresh and contemporary; encouraging shoppers to increase their dwell time within the centre. Customers are enticed into the centre from Union Street via a crisp clean back-lit white box with ‘st nicholas’ simply applied in a sophisticated and understated manner in a black font (matched with new branding guidelines). The theme of light continues internally with a double ribbon of light which flows down the length of the mall eventually terminating at an external white light box at the Schoolhill entrance.
The ‘ribbon of light’ and ‘light boxes’ are conceived as highly crafted pure elements linking all aspects of design both externally and internally in a holistic approach.
A waved timber ceiling brings warmth and texture to the central focus space. The undulation elegantly conceals the structure whilst also allowing to maximise floor to ceiling heights and the horizontal slats visually slows down the space with the richness of the timber complementing the white simplicity of the Barrisol ribbons.
The flooring uses various textures and sizes of sand colour ceramic tiles which move away from the rigorous geometric patterns that dominate many shopping centres. The mall is punctuated by geologically inspired extrusions of pilasters. These elements are clad in thin strips of ceramic tile that give the impression of the build up of geological layers. The pilasters are lit with blue accent lighting to emphasise these features.
Simple clean lines with a restricted palette of materials and contemporary detailing are used throughout the refresh designs to give the customer a sense of design quality and creating a calm, relaxed and aspirational retail experience.
The final cost of the refurbishment works cost approx. £1.5M. The works were completed on time and on budget.
The refurbishment on the mall has improved the centre’s economic sustainability, making the centre an attractive proposition for tenants in Aberdeen’s increasingly competitive market.
The Skinners team worked hard to ensure that there was minimum disruption to the normal smooth running of the Centre during the time that the refurbishment works were underway.
William Skinner & Son managing director Sandy Cunningham said: “Retail refurbishment has always been one of our company’s traditional core specialisations, and we are proud to add the St Nicholas Centre in Aberdeen to our ever growing portfolio of successfully completed projects.”