New world-class concert hall moves a step closer

The project to create Edinburgh’s first new performance building in 100 years is gathering pace following the appointment of an architect-led design team.

The task of designing the 1,000-seat auditorium, which will rival the best in Europe for acoustics and audience experience, has been given to David Chipperfield Architects. This award-winning international team, responsible for the acclaimed Neues Museum restoration in Berlin and currently transforming the Royal Academy in London, was selected following a comprehensive competition conducted under European procurement rules. Past design commissions include the BBC Scotland HQ at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, and the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

The new auditorium, to be built to the highest standards in the heart of the city, will be a thrilling home for all kinds of musical performance – from orchestral to jazz and folk – welcoming chamber groups, soloists, choirs and dance ensembles. The design will reflect this versatility and provide an exciting new hub for Edinburgh in a world-class hall situated immediately behind the historic Dundas House at 36 St Andrew Square.

Sir Ewan Brown, Chair of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“With David Chipperfield Architects on board, our work to secure a new performance venue for Edinburgh and Scotland moves into an exciting new phase. The jury panel convened to consider the six short-listed architectural and design proposals concluded that David Chipperfield Architects is a highly skilled team led by a strong and confident architect. Their approach to designing the interior of the new venue was intriguing, well-expressed and demonstrated a desire to create spaces that would welcome visitors and performers alike. In addition, the team showed sensitivity to the design challenges that would be faced in creating a venue with exceptional, world-class acoustics.

“Securing this new performance venue will be a major benefit to Edinburgh and Scotland. With an estimated 350-400,000 visitors a year, it will help to maintain Edinburgh’s position as an International Festival City and leading centre for music and the performing arts. By embracing all musical genres the new auditorium will include a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, reach out to the local community and beyond and build new audiences. The inclusion of educational facilities open to young artists, a recording studio and digital technology make this a truly transformational proposition.”

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Andrew Burns commented:

“It is great to see such an important project gathering pace. This new venue will be a major boost to the city’s drive to keep Edinburgh firmly in the top rank of international cultural destinations. Investing in Edinburgh’s rich and diverse creative mix is a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, especially as the city celebrates the 70th anniversary of the creation of Edinburgh’s Festivals. The Council is working with partners in the city, including IMPACT Scotland, and the UK and Scottish Governments to achieve this and we look forward to the Deal being finalised soon.”

David Chipperfield said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected to design this project. Edinburgh is a wonderful city and we are very much looking forward to working with IMPACT Scotland, the SCO and all those involved to develop a new concert venue for this extraordinary site.”

IMPACT Scotland Project Board members Morag Campbell, Chief Executive of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and Donald Shaw, musician, composer and director, welcomed the start of the design phase.

The project to create Edinburgh’s first new performance building in 100 years is gathering pace following the appointment of an architect-led design team.

The task of designing the 1,000-seat auditorium, which will rival the best in Europe for acoustics and audience experience, has been given to David Chipperfield Architects. This award-winning international team, responsible for the acclaimed Neues Museum restoration in Berlin and currently transforming the Royal Academy in London, was selected following a comprehensive competition conducted under European procurement rules. Past design commissions include the BBC Scotland HQ at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, and the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

The new auditorium, to be built to the highest standards in the heart of the city, will be a thrilling home for all kinds of musical performance – from orchestral to jazz and folk – welcoming chamber groups, soloists, choirs and dance ensembles. The design will reflect this versatility and provide an exciting new hub for Edinburgh in a world-class hall situated immediately behind the historic Dundas House at 36 St Andrew Square.

Sir Ewan Brown, Chair of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“With David Chipperfield Architects on board, our work to secure a new performance venue for Edinburgh and Scotland moves into an exciting new phase. The jury panel convened to consider the six short-listed architectural and design proposals concluded that David Chipperfield Architects is a highly skilled team led by a strong and confident architect. Their approach to designing the interior of the new venue was intriguing, well-expressed and demonstrated a desire to create spaces that would welcome visitors and performers alike. In addition, the team showed sensitivity to the design challenges that would be faced in creating a venue with exceptional, world-class acoustics.

“Securing this new performance venue will be a major benefit to Edinburgh and Scotland. With an estimated 350-400,000 visitors a year, it will help to maintain Edinburgh’s position as an International Festival City and leading centre for music and the performing arts. By embracing all musical genres the new auditorium will include a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, reach out to the local community and beyond and build new audiences. The inclusion of educational facilities open to young artists, a recording studio and digital technology make this a truly transformational proposition.”

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Andrew Burns commented:

“It is great to see such an important project gathering pace. This new venue will be a major boost to the city’s drive to keep Edinburgh firmly in the top rank of international cultural destinations. Investing in Edinburgh’s rich and diverse creative mix is a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, especially as the city celebrates the 70th anniversary of the creation of Edinburgh’s Festivals. The Council is working with partners in the city, including IMPACT Scotland, and the UK and Scottish Governments to achieve this and we look forward to the Deal being finalised soon.”

David Chipperfield said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected to design this project. Edinburgh is a wonderful city and we are very much looking forward to working with IMPACT Scotland, the SCO and all those involved to develop a new concert venue for this extraordinary site.”

IMPACT Scotland Project Board members Morag Campbell, Chief Executive of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and Donald Shaw, musician, composer and director, welcomed the start of the design phase.

Morag said:

“A new auditorium with such a commitment to acoustic excellence is a thrilling prospect for those of us working to encourage more people in Scotland to join choirs and enjoy performance at the highest level. The central location – with excellent transport links – will make the venue accessible and a great asset to many cultural groups.”

Donald added:

“A new 1,000 seat venue is something to be celebrated. What IMPACT Scotland is proposing is a game-changer. Making such a high standard of acoustics available to so many musical genres will be an incredible gain for Edinburgh and Scotland.”

Gavin Reid, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a trustee of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“David Chipperfield Architects demonstrated a real understanding of the requirements of a 21st Century cultural centre and how to merge it sensitively with the existing environment. This very-well established and highly successful design team will create an exceptional venue with superb accessibility and facilities in the heart of Edinburgh. There will be enormous benefits to local residents, community and youth groups, schools, artists, tourists and businesses. Opportunities to reach communities further afield will be greatly enhanced through digital connectivity. With a founding ethos of collaboration, partnership and inclusion, this new venue promises to be an inspirational addition to Scotland’s cultural life.”

Morag said:

“A new auditorium with such a commitment to acoustic excellence is a thrilling prospect for those of us working to encourage more people in Scotland to join choirs and enjoy performance at the highest level. The central location – with excellent transport links – will make the venue accessible and a great asset to many cultural groups.”

Donald added:

“A new 1,000 seat venue is something to be celebrated. What IMPACT Scotland is proposing is a game-changer. Making such a high standard of acoustics available to so many musical genres will be an incredible gain for Edinburgh and Scotland.”

Gavin Reid, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a trustee of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“David Chipperfield Architects demonstrated a real understanding of the requirements of a 21st Century cultural centre and how to merge it sensitively with the existing environment. This very-well established and highly successful design team will create an exceptional venue with superb accessibility and facilities in the heart of Edinburgh. There will be enormous benefits to local residents, community and youth groups, schools, artists, tourists and businesses. Opportunities to reach communities further afield will be greatly enhanced through digital connectivity. With a founding ethos of collaboration, partnership and inclusion, this new venue promises to be an inspirational addition to Scotland’s cultural life.”