International design competition for pavilion at Edinburgh Castle

An international competition to design a new pavilion at the foot of Edinburgh Castle in Scotland has been announced.

The new pavilion will be located in the West Princes Street Gardens within the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, a World Heritage-listed site. The competition is being independently organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants on behalf of the Ross Development Trust in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council.

The Ross Fountain at West Princes Street Gardens.

The Ross Fountain at West Princes Street Gardens.

Image: Courtesy Malcolm Reading Consultants and David Springford

The Ross Pavilion International Design Competition will result in a £25-million (A$41,006,561) Ross Pavilion and Gardens project to regenerate and renew the site at West Princes Street Gardens. The project will encompass a visitor centre, a performance space, a natural amphitheatre and a landscape masterplan.

“This is a project for one of the most important places in Scotland and we want it to communicate the very essence of Edinburgh: a dynamic city with an unrivalled arts and cultural pedigree – a city that’s forward-looking while tuned into its history,” said Norman Springford, chairman of the Ross Development Trust.

“We would like the Pavilion to have an original design of international quality and significance that says ‘Edinburgh.’”

The site has been used for live music performances since 1853 and is currently home to an open-air theatre, known as the Ross Bandstand, designed by city architect E. J. Macrae in 1935. The structure has been extended and updated several times, but it has more recently fallen into disrepair and the facilities do not meet today’s requirements. The new landmark pavilion will replace the Ross Bandstand.

The competition will be held in two stages. The first is an international search for architect-led multidisciplinary design teams based on relevant skills, past experience and an understanding of the project brief. Teams must demonstrate experience in landscape, engineering, heritage and planning.

First-stage submissions will be review by a shortlisting committee comprising representatives of the Ross Development Trust, a subset of the jury and the Trust’s other advisers.

Five or more teams will be shortlisted to produce concept designs in the second stage of the competition.

The final jury is yet to be established but confirmed members include jury chair Norman Springford and architect and competition director Malcolm Reading.

The Royal Mile as seen from West Princes Street Gardens.

The Royal Mile as seen from West Princes Street Gardens.

Image: Courtesy Malcolm Reading Consultants and David Springford

The remaining jury members will include representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council, local stakeholders and representatives from the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape design.

The winning team will be announced in early August 2017. Unsuccessful shortlisted teams in stage two will each receive a £10,000 (A$16,385) honorarium.

The project is due to be completed by December 2019.

First-stage submissions are due by 13 March 2017. For further information click here.

The Ross Development Trust will also hold an exhibition of the schemes and ask the public for their views.

Malcolm Reading Consultants are competition specialists in Europe and have also run a number of other architectural competitions for projects including the UK Holocaust Memorial, the London Natural History Museum landscape and the Guggenheim Helsinki.

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