Shortlist for the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition announced

Seven finalist teams to produce concept designs for an emblematic Edinburgh site

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© Malcolm Reading Consultants/David Springford
  • 125 teams (made up of 400 individual firms) entered the competition with over half the submissions coming from overseas
  • Seven finalist teams will now create concept designs for a new landmark Pavilion, a visitor centre, and subtle updates to the listed West Princes Street Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh
  • Finalists include celebrated and emerging talent and feature international collaborations
  • Writer Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE and Architect Ada Yvars Bravo to join jury

The Ross Development Trust in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council and Malcolm Reading Consultants announced today [28 March, 2017] the seven finalist teams who will proceed to the second stage of the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition.

The competition is searching for an outstanding team of architects, landscape designers, engineers and other specialists for the new circa £25m Ross Pavilion and Gardens project in the heart of Edinburgh.

Each of the finalist teams is led by an architect, and these are listed below. For full details of the shortlisted teams, please see the Notes to Editors.

  • Adjaye Associates (UK)
  • BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark)
  • Flanagan Lawrence (UK)
  • Page \ Park Architects (UK)
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway)
  • wHY (USA)
  • William Matthews Associates (UK) and Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan)

The decision of the selection panel – which included representatives of the jury, the Ross Development Trust and competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants – was unanimous.

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

‘We were absolutely delighted by the response of designers from around the world to the competition’s first stage. The quality of the 125 teams on the longlist sent a strong signal that the international design community regards this as an inspirational project for Edinburgh that has huge potential to reinvigorate this prestigious site.
‘Selecting the shortlist with our partners from City of Edinburgh Council was an intense and demanding process. We’re thrilled that our final shortlist achieved a balance of both international and UK talent, emerging and established studios. Now the teams will have 11 weeks to do their concept designs – and we’re looking forward to seeing these and sharing them with the public.’

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener and Festivals Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

‘The response to the competition’s first stage affirms the worldwide interest in Edinburgh and its association with the arts. Scotland’s capital is renowned as the World’s Festival City and the home of culture - and designers clearly want to be part of its future.
‘The brief at stage two asks for a serious piece of architecture but one that’s also celebratory – it will be fascinating to see what concepts the teams produce.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘This is an exceptional project – the interest from the website audience and the number of enquiries we received was far out of the ordinary. We appreciated the care and hard work that had gone into the submissions – to those who are disappointed not to make the shortlist, take heart: overall, the standard was very strong.’

An open day for the finalists will be held in April and the teams will have until 9 June 2017 to produce their concept designs for a new landmark Pavilion, a visitor centre with café, and subtle updates and improvements to the listed Gardens, which are of outstanding cultural significance and operated and managed by the City of Edinburgh Council as Common Good Land. The Pavilion will host the kind of imaginative arts programming which Edinburgh excels in, from large to small scale events.

A public and digital exhibition will be held in mid-June and will allow for local, national and visitor feedback. The jury will subsequently meet to interview the teams and the winner announcement is expected in early August 2017.

At the competition’s first stage, 125 applications were received from 22 different countries, including Australia, Japan, India and the United States, with UK-based practices producing 42 per cent of responses.

Joining the competition jury will be Ada Yvars Bravo, Director, MYAA Architects; Sir Mark Jones FSA FRSE, former Director of the National Museums of Scotland and the Victoria and Albert Museum; Riccardo Marini, Director, Gehl Architects; Alexander McCall Smith, writer; Malcolm Reading, Architect and Competition Director; and Norman Springford (jury chair), Chairman, Ross Development Trust. Additional jury members, including an elected City of Edinburgh Council member (pending the upcoming local elections) will be announced later in the competition process.

The initiative will regenerate and renew a nationally-important space at the heart of West Princes Street Gardens and within the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the rallying point for some of Scotland’s most high-profile events and celebrations, notably Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival’s closing fireworks concert. The site is presently occupied by the Ross Bandstand.

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 competitions for museums and arts, heritage, and non-profit organisations and is currently running the Clandon Park International Design Competition for the National Trust.

Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

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

Notes to Editors:

The shortlisted teams in full:

  • Adjaye Associates (UK) with Morgan McDonnell, BuroHappold, Turley, JLL, Arup, Plan A Consultants, Charcoalblue and Sandy Brown Associates
  • BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark) with jmarchitects, GROSS. MAX., WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Alan Baxter Associates, JLL, Speirs + Major, Charcoalblue and People Friendly Design
  • Flanagan Lawrence (UK) with Gillespies, Expedition Engineering, JLL, Arup and Alan Baxter Associates
  • Page \ Park Architects (UK) with West8, BuroHappold, Muir Smith Evans and Charcoalblue
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway) with GROSS. MAX., AECOM, Groves-Raines Architects and Charcoalblue
  • wHY (USA) with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, O Street, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Yann Kersalé Studio, Lawrence Barth, Stuco, Alan Cumming, Aaron Hicklin, Alison Watson, Peter Ross, Adrian Turpin and Beatrice Colin
  • William Matthews Associates (UK) and Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan) with GROSS. MAX., BuroHappold, Purcell and Scott Hobbs