Controversial Edinburgh music venue granted planning

26 April 2019
Credit: David Chipperfield Architects
  • David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects



United Kingdom

David Chipperfield design approved by council

Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music and performance venue for over 100 years has been agreed for planning approval by the City Council. Designed by David Chipperfield, its performance spaces include a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 200-seat studio and a large foyer for informal productions. The venue will be the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a principal venue for the Edinburgh International Festival.

IMPACT Scotland, the charitable trust formed to the oversee the development, revealed that the building will be called the Dunard Centre, in recognition of significant donations received by the American philanthropist Carol Griger through the Dunard Fund. Council leader Adam Mcvey commented: “None of it would be possible without our ambitious city deal or the generosity of philanthropists like Carol Grigor. Together, we’re opening up an exciting new chapter in Edinburgh’s already thriving cultural scene to help more of our residents to take part in and enjoy the arts.”

Controversy surrounding the development was reflected in the close vote at the planning hearing, which saw six to four councillors in favour of the £45m venue. Concerns have been raised about the building overshadowing neighbouring Dundas House, a neoclassical 18th century building in St Andrews Square, currently the registered office of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Bank itself support the scheme, having made the land available for the development.  

Organisers hope that the public will embrace the venue’s potential in a city with such a strong connection to the arts. Speaking during the committee hearing, architect Sir David Chipperfield said: “This will be a public building that relates to Edinburgh on a civic scale by both fitting in and standing out in order to perform an important social and cultural role in a city with strong established cultural traditions.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research & Editor

The invitation for expressions of interest was first published on 13.12.2016. See the original brief here

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