New arts venue

Scaled down Dunard hopes to be in tune with planners

Dunard auditorium

The auditorium will seat 1,000 concert goers

New images have been released of the proposed Dunard Centre in Edinburgh, revealing a lower profile for the city’s first purpose-built music and performance venue in more than a hundred years.

Designed by architect Sir David Chipperfield and Nagata Acoustics, the Dunard Centre is intended to fill a recognised gap in the region’s cultural infrastructure.

The space has been re-imagined to retain the proposed 1,000 capacity, while reducing the size of the building. A 200-seat studio theatre which was due to provide a “rehearsal, recital and recording space to rival the best in Europe”, has been dropped in order to meet the building’s height limit.

There had been a series of objections, and legal threats, not least from the St James Quarter developer, about the height of the original building which will sit behind the historic headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland at the east end of George Street.

The budget for the project remains at £75 million, with two-thirds of this being met by private philanthropy and fundraising. Of this, £35m is being donated by Dunard Fund, and a fundraising campaign for a further £15m has already received significant pledges.

Lower profile for Dunard

The new proposal shows the concert hall barely visible above the historic HQ of RBS…

Impact concert hall RBS HQ

The earlier proposal showed the concert hall towering over the bank

As part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal the UK and Scottish Governments are each providing £10m, and City of Edinburgh Council £5m. 

The exterior of the building reflects the surrounding neoclassical design of the New Town and aims to opensup an undiscovered area of the city centre, linking the new St James Quarter, St Andrew Square and the Register Lanes and contributing to the regeneration of the area.

Fergus Linehan, co-chairman of Impact, which is behind the project, said: “It is a great honour to be leading a project which will make such a positive and inspiring contribution to the city’s cultural rebuild.”

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