New Edinburgh Concert Hall building, David Chipperfield architect, Scottish capital site news

New Edinburgh Concert Hall Building

IMPACT Scotland Project in the New Town design by David Chipperfield Architects

5 May 2017

David Chipperfield Architects selected for Edinburgh Concert Hall Building

New world-class concert hall moves a step closer

Design: David Chipperfield Architects

Location: immediately behind the historic Dundas House at 36 St Andrew Square.

Edinburgh Concert Hall Building by David Chipperfield

The project to create Edinburgh’s first new performance building in 100 years is gathering pace following the appointment of an architect-led design team.

The task of designing the 1,000-seat auditorium, which will rival the best in Europe for acoustics and audience experience, has been given to David Chipperfield Architects.

This award-winning international team, responsible for the acclaimed Neues Museum restoration in Berlin and currently transforming the Royal Academy in London, was selected following a comprehensive competition conducted under European procurement rules. Past design commissions include the BBC Scotland HQ at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, and the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

The new auditorium, to be built to the highest standards in the heart of the city, will be a thrilling home for all kinds of musical performance – from orchestral to jazz and folk – welcoming chamber groups, soloists, choirs and dance ensembles. The design will reflect this versatility and provide an exciting new hub for Edinburgh in a world-class hall situated immediately behind the historic Dundas House at 36 St Andrew Square.

St Andrew Square Edinburgh aerial photo:
St Andrew Square Edinburgh aerial photo
photo from MLA

Sir Ewan Brown, Chair of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“With David Chipperfield Architects on board, our work to secure a new performance venue for Edinburgh and Scotland moves into an exciting new phase. The jury panel convened to consider the six short-listed architectural and design proposals concluded that David Chipperfield Architects is a highly skilled team led by a strong and confident architect.

Their approach to designing the interior of the new venue was intriguing, well-expressed and demonstrated a desire to create spaces that would welcome visitors and performers alike. In addition, the team showed sensitivity to the design challenges that would be faced in creating a venue with exceptional, world-class acoustics.

recently completed 3-8 St Andrew Square by CDA / Hoskins Architects:
TK Maxx Edinburgh store
photo © architect Adrian Welch

“Securing this new performance venue will be a major benefit to Edinburgh and Scotland. With an estimated 350-400,000 visitors a year, it will help to maintain Edinburgh’s position as an International Festival City and leading centre for music and the performing arts.

By embracing all musical genres the new auditorium will include a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, reach out to the local community and beyond and build new audiences. The inclusion of educational facilities open to young artists, a recording studio and digital technology make this a truly transformational proposition.”

St Andrew Square Edinburgh aerial view:
St Andrew Square Edinburgh aerial view
photo © webbaviation

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Andrew Burns commented:

“It is great to see such an important project gathering pace. This new venue will be a major boost to the city’s drive to keep Edinburgh firmly in the top rank of international cultural destinations. Investing in Edinburgh’s rich and diverse creative mix is a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, especially as the city celebrates the 70th anniversary of the creation of Edinburgh’s Festivals. The Council is working with partners in the city, including IMPACT Scotland, and the UK and Scottish Governments to achieve this and we look forward to the Deal being finalised soon.”

David Chipperfield said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected to design this project. Edinburgh is a wonderful city and we are very much looking forward to working with IMPACT Scotland, the SCO and all those involved to develop a new concert venue for this extraordinary site.”

IMPACT Scotland Project Board members Morag Campbell, Chief Executive of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and Donald Shaw, musician, composer and director, welcomed the start of the design phase.

Morag said:

“A new auditorium with such a commitment to acoustic excellence is a thrilling prospect for those of us working to encourage more people in Scotland to join choirs and enjoy performance at the highest level. The central location – with excellent transport links – will make the venue accessible and a great asset to many cultural groups.”

35 St Andrew Square Edinburgh building:
35 St Andrew Square Edinburgh building
photo © Adrian Welch

Donald added:

“A new 1,000auditorium seating venue is something to be celebrated. What IMPACT Scotland is proposing is a game-changer. Making such a high standard of acoustics available to so many musical genres will be an incredible gain for Edinburgh and Scotland.”

Gavin Reid, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a trustee of IMPACT Scotland, said:

“David Chipperfield Architects demonstrated a real understanding of the requirements of a 21st Century cultural centre and how to merge it sensitively with the existing environment. This very-well established and highly successful design team will create an exceptional venue with superb accessibility and facilities in the heart of Edinburgh.

There will be enormous benefits to local residents, community and youth groups, schools, artists, tourists and businesses. Opportunities to reach communities further afield will be greatly enhanced through digital connectivity. With a founding ethos of collaboration, partnership and inclusion, this new venue promises to be an inspirational addition to Scotland’s cultural life.”

Standard Life Offices George Street:
Standard Life Offices George Street
picture from the architect


The site of the proposed new auditorium is immediately behind Dundas House, the Royal Bank of Scotland office at 36 St Andrew Square. Royal Bank of Scotland will grant IMPACT Scotland a 120-year lease on the site. The site will be cleared by the demolition of the office block currently occupied by Royal Bank of Scotland.

The historic Royal Bank of Scotland branch will continue to operate as a stand-alone branch. The Dunard Fund, a major private sector supporter of the arts in the UK, will purchase the adjacent Royal Bank of Scotland office building at 35 St Andrew Square. Staff of IMPACT Scotland, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and other arts bodies will be housed in this building.

IMPACT Scotland is a charitable trust set up to promote the development of the new venue. The total funding requirement for the project is £45 million. The project is expected to feature in the proposed City Region Deal for Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

St Andrew Square Edinburgh monument:
St Andrew Square Edinburgh monument
photo © Adrian Welch

Nagata Associates, a world-leading consultancy on acoustics, is already advising IMPACT Scotland and will work closely with the architect and design team. Their recent work includes the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg.

The selected design team led by David Chipperfield Architects includes ARUP, Whitby Mohajer Engineers, Gross.Max Landscape Architects and Theatre Projects.

IMPACT Scotland expects to appoint a project manager/cost consultant shortly.

David Chipperfield

St Andrew Square Building Developments

The Edinburgh Grand – St Andrew Square Development
The Edinburgh Grand
image courtesy of architects
The Edinburgh Grand, St Andrew Square Building

3-8 St Andrew Square
Design: CDA and Gareth Hoskins Architects
TK Maxx Edinburgh store
photo © Adrian Welch
St Andrew Square Building Development

42 St Andrew Square
Date: 1942

Architects: Arthur Davis (London) / Leslie Grahame-Thomson (Edinburgh)
42 St Andrew Square
photo © Adrian Welch
42 St Andrew Square Edinburgh

St Andrew Square Buildings
St Andrew Square
St Andrew Square building
photo © Adrian Welch

35 St Andrew Square
35 St Andrew Square

St James Quarter Edinburgh
St James Quarter Edinburgh
image of the development
St James Quarter

New Town St James

St Andrew’s House

New Town St James Centre

St Andrew Square Spence

Major UK Buildings by David Chipperfield Architects

– The Hepworth, Wakefield, England
– Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate, England

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

1 Broughton Market short term let apartments
1 Broughton Market short term let apartments, Edinburgh
image courtesy of architects practice
1 Broughton Market short term let apartments

Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh Walking Tours

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Jack Kilby Centre

Comments / photos for the New Edinburgh Concert Hall Building design by David Chipperfield Architects Architecture page welcome