Design team selected
Chipperfield secures concert hall contract
The design team will also include ARUP, Whitby Mohajer Engineers, Gross.Max Landscape Architects and Theatre Projects.
The 1,000 seat auditorium, the first new concert venue to be built in the city for a century will also feature a recording studio and will be housed on a plum site behind Dundas House in St Andrew Square (pictured).
David Chipperfield was responsible for the BBC Scotland HQ in Glasgow’s Pacific Quay. It beat off five other bidders to win the £45m concert hall contract with a projected completion date in 2021.
The firm is currently transforming the Royal Academy in London, and restored the famed Neues Museum in Berlin.
The Edinburgh venue promises to rival the best in Europe for acoustics and audience experience.
It will be built on a site currently owned by Royal Bank of Scotland and will be a hub for all kinds of musical performance – from orchestral to jazz and folk – welcoming chamber groups, soloists, choirs and dance ensembles.
A private sector supporter of the arts, the Dunard Fund will purchase the Royal Bank of Scotland office building at 35 St Andrew Square adjacent to the site. The existing historic branch of RBS will remain.
Staff of IMPACT Scotland, a charity set up to promote the development of the new venue, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and other arts bodies, will be housed in the office building.
A project manager for the as yet unnamed hall is to be appointed in the near future.
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 Scottish Chamber Orchestra and all those involved to develop a new concert venue for this extraordinary site.”
Donald Shaw the founder of Capercaillie and an international producer/composer who has worked with Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt and Nanci Griffith said he is delighted to be involved in the project as a board member.
He said: “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.”
Sir Ewan Brown, Chairman of IMPACT Scotland, said: “David Chipperfield Architects 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.”
The design will reflect this range and be housed on a 120 year lease.
Edinburgh city council leader Andrew Burns welcomed the development. He said: “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.”
Nagata Associates, a world-leading consultancy on acoustics, will work closely with the architect and design team. Their recent work includes the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg.