As cost rises to £60m...

New design for proposed Edinburgh Filmhouse

Latest and earlier designs for the proposed Filmhouse

A revised design has emerged for an ambitious plan to build a landmark new home for Edinburgh Filmhouse in a largely under-used public square.

The proposed new Filmhouse building, first announced in March, will be built in Festival Square between the Sheraton Hotel and Usher Hall.

Designed by Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy Architects, the plan is for five screens and a theatre – compared to its current three screens – and a rooftop restaurant and events space.

The new design shows a lower height to the original which was twice the height of its neighbours. It now features two fewer storeys in order to meet planning demands and will have less office and conference space.

However, the cost has risen by £10m to £60m and a fund-raising exercise will be launched next summer if the plans are approved.

There are hopes that work on what the architect calls a ‘temple of film’ will begin in 2023 with it opening in 2025.

The Filmhouse has been at the centre of Edinburgh’s cultural landscape for more than 40 years and is home to the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) and more than 20 other festivals and special events all year round.

The EIFF and the Filmhouse merged to form the Centre for the Moving Image and in 2019 the new board commissioned two feasibility studies – one looking at a complete rebuild of the existing Filmhouse site on Lothian Road and the second to look again at Festival Square.

The board opted for the second option. The City Council has agreed to lease the site to the Filmhouse and to the principle of constructing the new facility.

Richard Murply said it is an acknowledgement that film is the only art form without its “temple” in the city.

It will create a hub for Edinburgh’s film and broader cultural community to base themselves in, and be a focal point for Edinburgh’s citizens to learn about film.

Edinburgh Filmhouse has decided to stay shut throughout December to help prevent staff becoming ill over Christmas.

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