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GRAS and wHY win £25m West Princes Street Gardens competition

August 1 2017

GRAS and wHY win £25m West Princes Street Gardens competition
Local practice GRAS, in association with US-based wHY, have emerged as unanimous victors in a prestigious design competition to overhaul Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens.

The Ross Development Trust awarded the £25m commission, after shortlisting seven design teams for the job, which will include creation of a new landmark performance space, visitor centre and café at the Ross Pavilion.

The winning ‘butterfly’ design adopts a landscape first approach in the form of an undulating promenade, improved access down from Princes Street and sculptural seating.

Jury chair Norman Springford commented: “wHY demonstrated an impressive collaboration which respects and enhances the historical context and backdrop of the Castle and the City, whilst creating new heritage and increasing the green space within the Gardens.”

Mark Thomann, wHY’s landscape design director, added: “This is a special opportunity for a special place, not just for Edinburgh but the world. The new Ross Pavilion and Gardens draw from the rich natural history, heritage and creative spirit of Scotland, embodying a model approach for integrating public architecture and urban space in a top global city.”

The winning team comprises GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth, who will now develop their design ahead of a construction start next year.
Low slung terraces will preserve open aspects to the castle
Low slung terraces will preserve open aspects to the castle
wHY will now consult with the public on their gardens proposal
wHY will now consult with the public on their gardens proposal


Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po
#1 Posted by Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po on 1 Aug 2017 at 12:14 PM
....Fantastic Result #NewHome
Peter S
#2 Posted by Peter S on 1 Aug 2017 at 13:51 PM
Good luck on that construction start date target! More than optimistic to hope the usual monster of a planning application & political football will be sorted by then - particularly the embedded cafe/shop units.
#3 Posted by Inahuf on 1 Aug 2017 at 14:40 PM
Glory be - they chose the one I liked the best! Look forward to seeing it reach fruition.
#4 Posted by Ian on 1 Aug 2017 at 15:01 PM
This could be fantastic for the it too much to hope it then leads to Princes St itself being 'sorted out'?
#5 Posted by Jamie on 1 Aug 2017 at 16:01 PM
This was my favourite, it looks great! I hope it actually happens along the same lines as the drawings. Well done to all involved!
#6 Posted by David on 1 Aug 2017 at 16:02 PM
Really like the chosen scheme, however I will be amazed if it actually happens! Let's hope it doesn't end up another Union Street Gardens
#7 Posted by lm on 1 Aug 2017 at 16:55 PM
Agree with nr6 I really like the design and it seems to belong to the place ... really, really nice... and I too hope to see it in real life after the disappointment with Aberdeen Union Street Gardens which was not so different and ended up in the bin
#8 Posted by Gandalf on 1 Aug 2017 at 17:16 PM
Ah, finally a place for the kind folk of Hobbiton. The soft rolling landscape of the windows-desktop-background of our mind transplanted onto the base of a very real, rough, rugged, volcanic rock. Truly this is the golden age of landscape and architecture.
#9 Posted by Cateran on 1 Aug 2017 at 17:46 PM
Think there are going to be a lot more barriers along all those beautiful sweeping curves. Too much fun to go sliding off the nice, grassy roofs.
#10 Posted by N on 2 Aug 2017 at 22:29 PM
Once the Health and Safety gets their balustrades and guards everywhere this elegant solution is going to be somewhat comprimised.
#11 Posted by GayPawel on 3 Aug 2017 at 10:52 AM
I wish they could do something with the current building, like it move somewhere.
#12 Posted by Inahuf on 3 Aug 2017 at 11:21 AM
#9&10, what kill joys! Granted the family playing on the roof's never likely to happen, but with some modification to the geometry of the pavilion to prevent climbing there can be occupied and unoccupied green terraces forming a landscape of space and building elements as at the Parly. Agree budget may be a challenge though if it's to include the indoor spaces to Princes Street, and I do hope the glazing between the band/orchestra and the audience folds away or it's going to be an odd viewing experience!
#13 Posted by N on 3 Aug 2017 at 22:27 PM
#12, Not a killjoy statement, but simply a perfectly valid observation that the images depict a concept that likely cannot be realized with the same subtlety and refinement suggested, no matter how clever you are with the grading.
#14 Posted by basho on 4 Aug 2017 at 14:48 PM
This was always going to win. Least impact on the gardens, and therefore, hopefully, less opposition from the Heritage posse.
It's a good design, but as pointed out, the flowing landscape over the buildings concept is always compromised by balustrades, and the like. It'll be interesting to see what the actual built result is like.

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