News

Seven teams compete to design new Edinburgh landmark

Concept designs displayed in online gallery, and at a public exhibition

Images © Malcolm Reading Consultants / individual teams

The seven diverse proposals from the teams vying to win the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition and revitalise West Princes Street Gardens now go on show to the public.

  • Concept designs displayed in online gallery, and at a public exhibition from 21 June until 30 July 2017
  • Public invited to comment at the exhibition or directly via email
  • Winner to be announced in early August 2017

The Ross Development Trust in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council today [20 June 2017] revealed the seven concept designs devised by international and UK teams for a new landmark Ross Pavilion, which is intended to revitalise Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens, one of the city’s most emblematic places.

The concept designs are now available to view in an online gallery on the international competition website and in a free-to-enter public exhibition at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre, which runs for five weeks.

The site for the new Pavilion is a nationally-important space, perfectly positioned below Edinburgh Castle and adjoining the city’s most famous shopping street. Currently occupied by the Ross Bandstand, this is a true ‘place for people’ – for much of the year a tranquil haven, it is also the seasonal focus for some of Scotland’s most high-profile events and celebrations, notably Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival’s closing fireworks concert.

Norman Springford, Chairman of the Ross Development Trust and Competition Jury Chair, said:

‘The revival of this, one of Edinburgh’s best and most prominent sites, is a hugely exciting prospect and we now have seven fascinating design concepts from some of the world’s most in-demand creative minds.
‘These design concepts help us visualise how the new Ross Pavilion could both complement and act as a counterpoise to the Gardens and the Castle. The concepts will now be assessed in detail, the public will get their chance to comment, and then the jury will interview the teams and review and debate each submission in turn.’

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said:

‘The global response to the competition reaffirms the worldwide interest a city like Edinburgh commands. It really is exciting to see the possibilities for the Ross Pavilion unfold and on display in the City Art Centre. We welcome all thoughts and comments from our citizens on the shortlisted schemes. One of these designs is set to become one of Edinburgh’s most important new venues.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘Such was the appeal of the project that the competition brought the global design community to Edinburgh! Each of the finalists knows winning would be both a privilege and a career-defining moment. While the seven Pavilions show different approaches, the competing teams are connected by a shared love of materials, form and placemaking.

‘Of course, these are concepts, and not final designs – the winning team will work closely to develop their ideas with the City Council and the Ross Development Trust.’

The seven-strong shortlist that reached the second stage of the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition was selected from the 125 teams (made up of 400 individual firms) who entered the competition. The Pavilion, which will provide a flexible platform for the imaginative arts and cultural programming that Edinburgh excels in, will allow visitors and residents to engage with a variety of events all year round. Other aspects of the circa £25m project include subtle updates to the West Princes Street Gardens – the latter being of outstanding cultural significance and operated and managed by the City of Edinburgh Council as Common Good Land.

The public is being invited to share its views on the project via a survey at the exhibition or by emailing the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The proposals on show are by the following shortlisted teams (in alphabetical order):

  • Adjaye Associates with Morgan McDonnell, BuroHappold Engineering, Plan A Consultants, JLL, Turley, Arup, Sandy Brown, Charcoalblue, AOC Archaeology, Studio LR, FMDC, Interserve and Thomas & Adamson
  • Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with JM Architects, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, GROSS.MAX., Charcoalblue, Speirs + Major, JLL, Alan Baxter and People Friendly
  • Flanagan Lawrence with Gillespies, Expedition Engineering, JLL, Arup and Alan Baxter
  • Page \ Park Architects, West 8 Landscape Architects and BuroHappold Engineering with Charcoalblue and Muir Smith Evans
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter with GROSS.MAX., AECOM, Charcoalblue, Groves-Raines Architects and Forbes Massie Studio
  • wHY, GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth with Alan Cumming, Aaron Hicklin, Beatrice Colin, Peter Ross, Alison Watson and Adrian Turpin
  • William Matthews Associates and Sou Fujimoto Architects with BuroHappold Engineering, GROSS.MAX., Purcell, Scott Hobbs Planning and Filippo Bolognese

The jury, which includes Alexander McCall Smith CBE, FRSE, Sir Mark Jones FSA, FRSE along with Andrew Kerr, CEO, City of Edinburgh Council and Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, will subsequently meet to interview the teams and the winner announcement is expected in early August 2017.

Established in 2016, the Ross Development Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation whose purpose is to advance the appreciation and promotion of the arts, culture and heritage within West Princes Street Gardens and, through this, encourage the rejuvenation of Edinburgh city centre.

The Trust, which has committed a substantial gift towards the project, is raising funds from both private and public sources, and is working closely with the land owners, the City of Edinburgh Council, on this initiative. Other key project stakeholders include Edinburgh World Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, the Edinburgh Festival, the Cockburn Association, and the Old Town Community Council.

The competition is being run according to EU procurement guidelines and the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015. It is independently organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). MRC specialises in work for museums and arts, heritage, and non-profit organisations and is currently running competitions for the National Infrastructure Commission, the Kaunas M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre, the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation and the National Trust.

Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

Please see the competition’s dedicated website for further updates.