Usher Hall Edinburgh Extension, Lothian Road Building Architect, Redevelopment Picture, Scotland

Usher Hall Extension

Edinburgh Concert Hall refurbishment on Lothian Rd design by LDN Architects

post updated 2 January 2022

Redevelopment Design: LDN Architects

Usher Hall Building Extension

LDN were commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council to prepare proposals to resolve the many practical shortcomings of a building that is an icon for the performing arts in Scotland. The Usher Hall is a significant piece of architecture. It is listed, Grade A. It is not usual, in these times when we have learned to respect our old buildings, to propose highly visible modern extensions to them. The design aims to respond fully to the architectural issues raised by extending a beaux arts building.

Usher Hall Extension
photo from LDN

In true beaux arts tradition, geometry defines the extent of the new work – a podium providing level access to all entrances, and a three storey extension accommodating the required additional space. The entrance to the new wing is, like the main entrance doors to the Hall, off the new podium.

The old and new doors acknowledge each other as belonging to the same institution but the new entrance, carefully angled to be visible without being obtrusive, does not detract from the significance of the three main doors. The relationship between old and new is further exhibited by windows in the new wing on Grindlay Street that display not only the public space within but also the stone architecture of the central elements of the existing Grindlay Street façade.

The resulting composition ensures that there is no confusion between old and new, that the new complements rather than competes with the old, that the strengths of the original design are revealed. Yet the new wing gives a clear signal of renewal for the building and an invitation to celebrate and enjoy the place in a new and relevant way.

Usher Hall Edinburgh Extension

External photos © Isabelle Lonholt, taken 28 March 2010

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Usher Hall Building Renewal

Usher Hall Extension + Refurbishment
Design: LDN Architects
Edinburgh Concert Hall refurbishment design by LDN Architects
photograph : The City of Edinburgh Council

24 Feb 2010

Usher Hall – New Wing

Usher Hall Soars into 2010 with Opening of New Wing

Visitors to Edinburgh’s number one concert hall will see a whole new side to the venue as the magnificent new wing is unveiled to the public.

From Thursday 25 February, people will be able to explore the beautiful new addition to the grade A-listed building, which completes the second phase of a major refurbishment of the Lothian Road concert hall. Inside the glass-fronted wing, they will discover a new cafe/bar, a bigger and better box office area, topped by new hospitality spaces and re-sited and extended office accommodation.

Scottish Concert Hall refurbishment on Lothian Rd design by LDN Architects Edinburgh Concert Hall refurbishment on Lothian Road Edinburgh Concert Hall building design by LDN Architects Scottish capital concert hall design by LDN Architects
photos : The City of Edinburgh Council

The Usher Hall’s refurbishment was made possible with the support of funding from the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Executive Cities Growth Fund, Scottish Enterprise, Heritage Lottery Fund, private donations, trusts and foundations.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are very excited to be unveiling this dazzling new wing at our much loved Usher Hall, now looking sensational after its refurbishment. Audiences have been flocking to the venue in their thousands since we reopened for the Edinburgh International Festival’s opening concert and this event to unveil the brand new wing is the penultimate step towards the completed project in the summer. The Phase III landscaping works, which are progressing well, will really be the icing on the cake.

“This Administration is strongly committed to providing excellent facilities and opportunities to make culture as accessible as possible for all our residents and visitors, and our investment in the Usher Hall is a significant step towards this goal. We are grateful to all our funding partners, including the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Heritage Lottery Fund, for their assistance in helping us create a concert hall fit for the 21st century.”

Since it reopened for the Edinburgh International Festival last August, audiences have been enjoying greatly improved facilities inside the Usher Hall itself, including:

– better disabled access throughout the building
– lift access to all floors
– increased cloakroom and washroom facilities
– new and improved bars on all levels

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photos from the Usher Hall : The City of Edinburgh Council

Currently, the final phase of work is ongoing – these landscaping works adjacent to the Usher Hall will create a pedestrianised, flexible space which will revitalise the area and lend it an appealing, ‘arts quarter’ ambience.

Iain Munro, Co-Director of Arts, Scottish Arts Council, said: “The Scottish Arts Council’s National Lottery investment in this project was aimed at developing a world-class venue, with improved access for audiences with disabilities as well as outstanding facilities for the professional artists who make the Usher Hall such a pleasure to visit. We are delighted that our investment has helped secure the future of the Usher Hall into the 21st century and beyond.”

Pamela Woodburn, director of business infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Edinburgh is a key tourism destination for Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival is an event and brand that is recognised worldwide. The Usher Hall is the venue for the most prestigious concerts held during the EIF and therefore plays a key role in the economic success of Edinburgh’s festivals programme.”

Colin McLean, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Scotland, which awarded Edinburgh Council a grant of £846,000 towards the Usher Hall refurbishment, said: “Our grant was an important piece in the funding package that helped complete the successful restoration of one of Edinburgh’s most loved historic buildings. It will let more visitors than ever gain easier access to this outstanding venue, allowing them to enjoy concerts, performances and other contemporary cultural events in a building with a long and proud heritage.”

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images © Isabelle Lomholt

Usher Hall refurbishment : LDN Architects

Official reopening concert will be on the 10 Oct 2010 with the Houston Symphony Orchestra performing Holst’s The Planets, NASA – the Universe.

Usher Hall Building – Background Information

Usher Hall Building: Background Information
Usher Hall Extension
image © Isabelle Lomholt

The Building
Date: 1910
Architect: Stockdale Harrison
Location: Lothian Road, central Edinburgh
Usher Hall Edinburgh
Usher Hall, Edinburgh: image of redeveloped Concert Hall from LDN Architects

Edinburgh Properties

Significant Edinburgh Property – Selection:

The adjoining Victorian Royal Royal Lyceum Theatre by architect CJ Phipps was also refurbished by Law & Dunbar-Nasmith (now LDN), in 1998.

Also adjacent to the Usher Hall is the Traverse Theatre

Usher Hall – main page on the building
Usher Hall
image © Adrian Welch, 2007

Edinburgh Theatres

Key Edinburgh Theatre Property – Selection:

Festival Theatre

Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre

North Edinburgh Arts

Just to the west of the Usher Hall is EICC The Exchange

Edinburgh Walking Tours

Buildings / photos for the Usher Hall Extension Architecture design by LDN Architects page welcome