Design competition launched for £25m Ross Pavilion and Gardens regeneration project

An international design competition has been launched to find a multidisciplinary team to work on the new Ross Pavilion and Gardens project in the heart of Edinburgh.

An emblematic site. Image: Copyright Malcolm Reading Consultants/David Springford
An emblematic site. Image: Copyright Malcolm Reading Consultants/David Springford

The project, which will cost in the region of £25m, will regenerate and renew an emblematic site at the heart of West Princes Street Gardens, presently occupied by the Ross Bandstand. Improvements to the gardens, a new pavilion, a visitor centre with café are all planned. The gardens are operated and managed by the City of Edinburgh Council as Common Good Land.

The location, below Edinburgh Castle in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage site and adjoining Edinburgh’s most famous shopping street, has become a popular location for some of Scotland’s most high-profile events and celebrations, notably Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival’s closing fireworks concert.

The Ross Development Trust in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council and Malcolm Reading Consultants has launched the search for architects, landscape designers, engineers and other specialists to work on the project.

Chairman of the Ross Development Trust and Competition Jury Chair, Norman Springford, said: "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.

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

"Designers will need to be sensitive to context and historic setting – the castle being a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the gardens having botanical, commemorative and civic interest. But the design for the new pavilion and the wider project must also communicate Edinburgh’s creative energies and international profile. We all really look forward to being involved in this exciting public-private partnership."

Competition director Malcolm Reading said designers would create "not only a civic emblem but also a living entity, a much-needed platform at the heart of the city, for national and local events, to re-energise this valued green space."

The deadline for first stage entries is March 13 with a shortlist of finalists announced. They will be invited to submit concept designs which will go on public display. The winner will be announced in August. Details of the competition jury, which will be chaired by Norman Springford, will be announced later in the process, and will include representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council, local stakeholders, and specialists in the fields of architecture, urban design, and landscape design. 

For full details and to enter visit the dedicated website. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.

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