Ross Theatre competition goes global

A competition to replace the Ross Bandstand in the heart of Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens with a new landmark Pavilion has received worldwide interest from architects and designers.

Ross Bandstand fireworks

Entries from 125 teams spanning 22 countries and made of 400 individual firms have been narrowed down to seven finalists. The shortlist is announced today (Tuesday 28 March) by Malcolm Reading Consultants in collaboration with the Ross Development Trust and City of Edinburgh Council.

The seven finalists will be invited to create concept designs for the £25m project brief, which includes a new landmark venue to replace the bandstand, a visitor centre and subtle updates to West Princes Street Gardens.

Each of the finalist teams will be led by the following architects:
Adjaye Associates (UK)
BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark)
Flanagan Lawrence (UK)
Page \ Park Architects (UK)
Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway)
William Matthews Associates (UK) and Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan)

The news follows the appointment of writer Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE and architect Ada Yvars to the Trust’s design competition jury.

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.”  

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 long list 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.”

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.” 

The finalists will be invited to visit the site in April and will have until June to produce their concept designs.

A public and digital exhibition will be held by the Ross Development Trust this summer to showcase their concept designs and to receive local feedback, with a winner expected to be confirmed in August 2017. 

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

Please visit the competition’s dedicated website for further information:

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