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David Chipperfield unveils neoclassical Edinburgh music venue

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August 24 2018

David Chipperfield unveils neoclassical Edinburgh music venue

David Chipperfield Architects, with executive architect Reiach & Hall, have thrown back the curtain to a dramatic new music venue at the eastern end of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town.

The Impact Centre will house a 1,000-seat auditorium and secondary 200 seat performance, rehearsal and recording space and will also double as a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Facades have been conceived in relation to neoclassical base, middle and top with textured concrete chosen to relate to the predominant sandstones of the New Town. The main concert hall is elevated above an open plan foyer space, improving connections through this part of the city and remaining open out with performance schedules.

A metal clad dome meanwhile serves as a ‘crown’ and ‘fitting terminus’ to George Street. Directly below this dome a colonnaded promenade will offer visitors spectacular 360-degree views of the city with north and south facing terraces acting as open-air gathering spaces.

In a statement the architects said: “The building’s functions are distributed within three simple, compact and intersecting volumes. The concert hall sits in the centre of the site within a pure oval volume; its shape and scale dictated by the acoustic requirements. Its elliptical form is topped by a shallow dome – an urban gesture which terminates the axial view west along George Street, with Dundas House prominently in the foreground.

“The venue’s overlapping lower volumes are orthogonal in form and house its ancillary and public functions. These help to reduce the overall mass of the building and anchor it within the scale, geometry and atmosphere of the surrounding streets and neighbouring buildings. Overall, the venue seeks to form an urban composition centred around Dundas House, in balance with the prominent civic structures at the opposite end of George Street.”

The 10,000sq/m venue will open its doors in 2021.

A circular colonnade will offer 360-degree panoramas of the Edinburgh skyline
A circular colonnade will offer 360-degree panoramas of the Edinburgh skyline
A ground floor foyer will house the public functions of the venue and act as a 'public room' for the city
A ground floor foyer will house the public functions of the venue and act as a 'public room' for the city

A smaller performance space will be situated on the lower ground floor
A smaller performance space will be situated on the lower ground floor
A textured concrete base ties in with the Georgian surrounds
A textured concrete base ties in with the Georgian surrounds

New pedestrian routes will open up a forgotten corner of the city
New pedestrian routes will open up a forgotten corner of the city
The 1,000 seat main auditorium will be elevated above the ground floor concourse
The 1,000 seat main auditorium will be elevated above the ground floor concourse

The venue abuts the rear of the grade-A listed Dundas House on St. Andrew Square
The venue abuts the rear of the grade-A listed Dundas House on St. Andrew Square

17 Comments

Bill S
#1 Posted by Bill S on 24 Aug 2018 at 11:39 AM
Beautiful design. It's fantastic to have Chipperfield and Reiach & Hall work on such an important local building! I wonder if they looked at the textured concrete work evidenced at The Brunton Theatre down the road in Mussy?
Basho
#2 Posted by Basho on 24 Aug 2018 at 11:52 AM
Wonderful design. Just hope its not ruined by the Golden Turd hotel behind it.
JF
#3 Posted by JF on 24 Aug 2018 at 12:08 PM
Those two internal auditoria/performance spaces could be anywhere. The ground floor foyer is VERY like the National Galleries undercroft...
Disappointed
#4 Posted by Disappointed on 24 Aug 2018 at 12:13 PM
The inside is a bit underwhelming. Don't mind the exterior though.
StyleCouncil
#5 Posted by StyleCouncil on 24 Aug 2018 at 12:20 PM
Love it....
JF
#6 Posted by JF on 24 Aug 2018 at 12:26 PM
#2, good point. Where exactly does the hotel sit? Is it on the same 'axial view' or not?
pinocchio
#7 Posted by pinocchio on 24 Aug 2018 at 12:35 PM
Not sold on the pre-cast concrete. Won't it date terribly?
Mansart
#8 Posted by Mansart on 24 Aug 2018 at 16:36 PM
It's quite understated and doesn't try to compete with the surrounding buildings. The auditorium looks impressive, can't wait to hear my first concert there. Good design!
James Craig
#9 Posted by James Craig on 24 Aug 2018 at 18:54 PM
A careful selection of images. I would be interested to see the visual impact from the west end of George street. Chipperfield produces some nice work, however his approach here seams to ignore context completely. Surely there are other design moves than copy and paste Mr Chip.Lazy.
GraemeMcCormick
#10 Posted by GraemeMcCormick on 24 Aug 2018 at 19:04 PM
I prefer Richard Murphy’s proposals
Philip
#11 Posted by Philip on 25 Aug 2018 at 18:21 PM
Very elegant indeed. The dome and colonnade look sublime.
Hopefully the holy trinity of architectural censorship and misguided protectionism- WHeritage, HES and the city planning committee see the quality and merits of the scheme.
terra
#12 Posted by terra on 25 Aug 2018 at 22:59 PM
very nice design. hope the materials are quality. could be a nice, understated addition to the area.
A Local Pleb
#13 Posted by A Local Pleb on 28 Aug 2018 at 13:46 PM
So Reiach & Hall will work tirelessly to make the back of the fag packet concepts work whilst David Chipperfield Architects mince around taking all the plaudits? Never understood the need for executive architects unless of course it is to address inadequacies elsewhere?
Eh?
#14 Posted by Eh? on 28 Aug 2018 at 14:39 PM
Is some concrete or higher quality than other concrete? Is textured concrete the ultimate? I think some tarmacadam splashes would add to the visual interest and texture.
MV
#15 Posted by MV on 28 Aug 2018 at 15:49 PM
Understated? Are you having a laugh? That's an enormous building to have on a relatively tiny site. But it’s a Chipperfield - so its ok. Do what you like. Who needs to consider context anyway.
The Golden whippy sits on the same axial view behind.
Meh.
#16 Posted by Meh. on 29 Aug 2018 at 16:39 PM
As much as chipshop is dependable it's hard not to find this more banal than the myriad of Reiach & Hall knockoffs.
Likely the concrete will fall short of appealing in life as the design is neither brutal nor particularly resolved.

If you remove the headline name I think the comments would be rather different. Sad.
JohnMF
#17 Posted by JohnMF on 31 Aug 2018 at 12:06 PM
Make it just a little higher to obscure the dogturd from terminating the view along George Street. The Dundas mansion never did a very great job of vista termination. Does this, or does it not, have any interaction with the starry RBS banking hall?

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