It is a city centre skyscape known the world over – and now a new concert arena will rise in the shadow of the Castle to replace the historic Ross Bandstand.
But the final design will have to be whittled down from seven competing visions for the £25 million project and today, we look in closer detail at the design by international firm Adjaye Associates.
Fronted by architect Sir David Adjaye, the design proposes a “garden temple” which he hopes will reflect the natural landscape of the city, drawing on the Old Town layout.
“The beauty of the city is in the gardens,” he said. “It is the jewel that makes Edinburgh so beautiful and we want to create something that the citizens of the city can feel special about – that they can use and feel edified by.”
Leading down to the central pavilion are gently cascading “soft” steps designed for people to use every day – where they can relax, eat their lunch and take in the city.
And running behind the main stage – which can be set up for anything from a single performer or a busker to a huge rock band – will be a series of low lying walls separating the performance area from two more interior spaces.
“The walls are a really beautiful thing and will naturally fit in with the landscape.” Sir David explained.
“It is a technique we have used to deal with the great change from the hill down to the pavilion.
“But they will also create a space hidden from the stage that can be used for conferences, office space for running event programmes and other uses.
“I didn’t want to create a new building but have them inhabit a space behind, maintaining the pavilion as centre stage.
“It is almost invisible to the main image that is presented when you come to the gardens. I want it to seem as if the walls and buildings were always there.”
The design would also include levelling the steep walkways down to the gardens and creating boardwalks level with Princes Street.
Sir David said he would be “absolutely elated” were the design to be chosen.
He said: “Edinburgh is such an incredible city and to be able to assist in the redevelopment of such a cherished space, within a truly magnificent location, would an absolute honour.”
The designs of all seven shortlisted firms are on display in a free-to-enter exhibition at the City Art Centre, Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm until July 30. The public are invited to share their views on the project via a survey at the exhibition or by e-mailing the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants, at email@example.com.