From prisoners to hardy perennials at old jail site’s new garden

Lina, Kevin and j' stood in the new garden.

A communal garden on the former site of Aberdeen’s HMP Craiginches has given local residents a place to sit and ponder.

Architecture student Lina Khairy’s ‘break free’ design was brought to life as a community benefit of the housing development built by Sanctuary Homes.

Lina’s design includes the old prison clock and granite blocks from the jail’s perimeter wall.

The garden was formally opened by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart as he toured a site transformed with 124 new homes managed by Sanctuary Scotland.

Lina, a third-year student at Robert Gordon University (RGU), said: “I’m just speechless seeing it completed.

“It all started with the symbol on top of the pole. When barbed wire is upturned it looks like a bird in flight, and that image embodies the whole idea of the garden.

“When the prison was here I felt the people of Torry were constrained because of that high wall. When the wall came down they’ve kind of broken free of it. Just seeing that symbol there will always be a reminder.”

The majority of Sanctuary’s mid-market rent homes are now let but some two-bedroom flats are still available. For more information visit our Craiginches, Aberdeen page.

j’, a vice-chair of Sanctuary Scotland and designer in residence at RGU’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “I’m thrilled for Lina and it was a pleasure to have Mr Stewart formally open the garden.

“It’s a wonderful spot. Anybody in the community can come to enjoy this space and remember what this site used to be.”

A short video on the garden can be viewed below or on our YouTube channel