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Edinburgh’s City Observatory reborn as arts destination

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October 22 2018

Edinburgh’s City Observatory reborn as arts destination

Edinburgh’s City Observatory is to begin a new life as a spectacular arts venue following restoration of the A-listed William Playfair designed complex to form a lofty exhibition space, offices, a restaurant and shop.

Visual arts organisation Collective will open its doors on 24 November following its £4.5m redevelopment by Collective Architecture (no relation) and HarrisonStevens landscape architects, providing a suitably dramatic backdrop for a series of exhibitions.

The hilltop complex will offer free entry to the passing public and access to a new landscaped terrace, maximising the 360-degree views of the city below, including a restaurant called The Lookout which is partially cantilevered out from the hillside below.

Centrepiece however will be The Hillside, an exhibition and office space embedded within the hillside in front of the City Observatory. It is joined by a refurbished City Dome gallery space and a learning and education hall within The Transit House.

Collective director Kate Gray, commented: “After more than 5 years of fundraising and hard work it’s incredibly exciting to be opening our doors to visitors at last. Collective is situated in a very special location on Calton Hill and we hope to offer our visitors an equally special experience, combining extraordinary art and architecture with panoramic views of the city.

“We now extend a warm welcome to residents of Edinburgh and visitors to the city and invite them to come up and see us.”

The City Observatory has lain unused since 2009.

Photography by Tom Nolan

A panoramic viewing terrace will allow visitors to soak in views
A panoramic viewing terrace will allow visitors to soak in views
Harrison Stevens handled landscape design for the rooftop complex
Harrison Stevens handled landscape design for the rooftop complex

The revamped observatory will throw open its doors on 24 November
The revamped observatory will throw open its doors on 24 November

3 Comments

StyleCouncil
#1 Posted by StyleCouncil on 22 Oct 2018 at 12:19 PM
How does this level of design get the go-ahead from the UNESCO/HES police on such an unique site......where is the detail quality or creative thinking!?
My comments are with particular reference to the components that look like they have been nicked from a residential building site or house extension- standard grey alu window units, dull flat bar balustrading and a landscape design that looks like my mother-in-laws suburban garden.
Are these just really bad photos?
Bill S
#2 Posted by Bill S on 22 Oct 2018 at 12:31 PM
Great stuff! Looking forward to visiting.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#3 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 22 Oct 2018 at 15:03 PM
2 years = 50% cost inflation.
Just who is footing the bill?

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