Last week, I was delighted to be involved in the unveiling of the brand-new project identity for the Capital campaign to reimagine West Princes Street Gardens: The Quaich Project. West Princes Street Gardens are a central and much-loved part of our city.
One of our greatest assets, the gardens are an important public space where everyone should feel welcome to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The Quaich Project is a partnership between the Ross Development Trust and City of Edinburgh Council working together to deliver the next evolutionary chapter in one of Edinburgh’s most famous locations – reimagining the Gardens as a space for all to enjoy, all year round. We want to create internationally recognised public gardens and a new world-class performance venue that is home to a range of diverse cultural activities.
The project takes its name from the traditional Highland “sharing cup” – and that feels perfect for this project. Not only does the physical landscape that forms West Princes Street Gardens closely mirror the bowl of a typical quaich it also matches our vision for the project – to bring people together in new ways to celebrate one of Scotland’s finest green spaces, and Edinburgh’s status as one of the world’s most beautiful, vibrant and welcoming capitals, generating new connections both locally and internationally.
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the return of more community use and activities that can be enjoyed by all throughout the year. I’m confident that this project and the design will provide the opportunity for all uses of the Gardens, from a peaceful place to sit and take part in yoga classes to Diwali and the world-famous Festival fireworks.
We have worked with the Ross Development Trust to successfully complete an international design competition for the new Ross Pavilion, upgraded the Gardener’s Cottage and restored the Ross Fountain. It is time for The Quaich Project to take the next step and to realise the promise of the winning design and ensure enjoyment for generations to come.
We all know the Gardens are much treasured by residents and visitors alike. It is vital to secure much-needed investment for the improvements to the Gardens’ infrastructure; replacement of the current Ross Theatre and improved accessibility.
The project is at an early stage of its design development, building towards a planning application being submitted in early 2020, and we are all committed to delivering improvements within the Gardens which are supported by the people of Edinburgh. So, I would urge you to keep a look out for The Quaich Project as there will be many opportunities for the public to engage with the project over the coming months to help shape how the plans develop.
Keep up to date with news and events www.thequaichproject.org and find out more about what will soon be a space for community, nature, reflection, celebration and for us all in the heart of Edinburgh.
Councillor Donald Wislson is culture and communities committee convener at Edinburgh City Council