The Crescent, Whitfield, Dundee


Building owner/client:

Dundee City Council

Architect or lead designer:

Dundee City Council Architects Department

Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

Dundee Civic Trust

Project Description

The Crescent is an exciting new development opened in April 2014 in the heart of the Whitfield priority regeneration area. The £7m community facility has social work and clinic and GP health, library, café and retail facilities, previously located in separate buildings across the area. It creates a new focus providing a one stop shop for local people, and has been developed with the strong involvement of the local community. This involvement represented a significant challenge to the project sponsors and has been achieved by early and continued engagement. The project was developed on a brownfield site supported by the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund, with excavated rock recycled in site upfill. The double fronted two storey crescent shaped building has simple wall and roof lines lacking in clutter with a clearly defined entrance. It is finished in calm colours to provide an ambience of health and well being. The building has a light airy entrance area with stairs, lift and shared reception. There is a “Social Enterprise” café on the ground floor next to the open and welcoming library. The ground floor provides easy access to other community facilities, kitchen and accessible toilets. The entrance area links well to the accessible parking to the north. There is a biomass boiler with below ground pit. The crescent shape encloses a public space that links well to the adjacent newly built Ballumbie Primary School creating a community hub and campus feel using “Secured by Design” principles, with priority given to pedestrians. This space features trees, seating (using recycled rock) and public art, and is being used for events – for example a Health Promotion Day by the Heart Foundation. The simple vision has been to create a focal point and sense of place for the community. This has been achieved through collaboration from the outset between the public bodies and the local community groups, voluntary organisations and school children working with the design professionals, public artists and the contractor. The community were involved in decisions on building usage, design of signage, public art and naming of the building. User groups helped design graphics for the offices, family rooms and glazed garden play area, and local schoolchildren chose the name of the street to the north of the building. Guide Dogs Scotland were closely involved in the planning, and Dundee College provided trial hard landscaping so it could be tested by disabled people. The result is a building well used by the community. For example the GP practice has seen a significant rise in patient registration. The Crescent has been recognised in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2014, received the Campbell Christie Public Service Reform Award 2014, is a finalist in the COSLA Excellence Awards 2015 which champion projects delivering local solutions to public services with innovation, creativity and passion. It also has been nominated by Dundee Access Group for an Accessible Britain Challenge Award to mark the involvement of disabled people.

Supporting Statement

The jury of six Trust members, including planners, an architect and other members with a keen interest in the development of the city, considered the development was a key element in the future success of the planned physical and social regeneration of the area of former multiple deprivation – a good example of how development projects can be the catalyst for successful regeneration. As well as the bold and simple design of the building and the attractive open space, the Trust recognises that the success of the project owes much to the strong community involvement and applauds those involved in rising to this challenge.