First look at Edinburgh’s new £45m concert hall

CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed
CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed
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Architects behind the first purpose-built concert hall to be created in Edinburgh for more than a century have revealed what the £45 million building will look like - both inside and outside.

The Impact Centre will create a major new venue for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival behind the Royal Bank of Scotland’s historic home on St Andrew Square.

CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed

CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed

The New Town venue, which London-based architect David Chipperfield is designing, will be made suitable for classic, pop, rock, folk, jazz, electronica and world music acts.

The complex, which is earmarked for a 2021 opening, will be linked directly to Dundas House, the former RBS HQ, which will still operate as a bank branch. An office block dating back to the 1960s behind the bank building will be demolished to make way for the Impact Centre.

It is hoped more than 350,000 concert-goers a year will flock to the venue. It is expected to create a link between the new St James and Registers developments, St Andrew Square and Waverley train station.

A charitable trust, Impact Scotland, has been set up to pursue the project, which has won £25 million worth of backing from the Scottish and UK governments since it was announced in November 2016.

CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed

CGI artist impressions of proposed Edinburgh IMPACT concert hall. Picture: Contributed

A £10 million fundraising campaign, targeting trusts, companies and indiviudual donors, to help pay for the new concert hall was launched in November.

The Dunart Trust, one of the biggest private backers of the arts in Scotland, which was set up by American arts philanhropist Carol Grigor, has already pledged £10 million for the project.

Impact Scotland chairman Sir Ewan Brown said: “This is an exciting stage in the creation of a vibrant new home for all kinds of music and performance.

We’ve set the bar high for our design team, asking them to produce a truly modern venue with exceptional acoustics, which also embraces and complements the heritage that surrounds it.

“This is a building that is being designed from the inside out, with at its heart a hall offering world-class acoustics for performers and audiences.

“The team have concentrated on getting this right and we’re now developing the look of this truly exceptional building and how it will sympathetically enhance its hidden location.

“The need for a new venue to secure the future of music in Edinburgh is clear. The support the project is receiving is tremendously encouraging.”

Mr Chipperfield’s previous projects include BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters and the Hepworth Wakefield art gallery in Yorkshire.

Mr Chipperfield added: “We’re very excited to be working on the new venue in a city renowned around the world for its arts and culture.

“The setting, within the context of the New Town, is also both stimulating and challenging. The new venue will not only provide a modern performance space, but also create a new public place in this somewhat hidden corner of the city.”

The first images of the proposed concert hall have been released ahead of a full planning application being lodged with the city council this summer.