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11-level ‘temple for film’ set for Edinburgh debut

March 11 2020

11-level ‘temple for film’ set for Edinburgh debut

Edinburgh Film Festival is raising the bar with plans for a £50m cinema complex to elevate the International Film Festival to new heights.

A dramatic 11-storey ‘temple for film’ has been penned by Richard Murphy Architects for the heart of Festival Square on Lothian Road at the centre of a revitalised public space overseen by Open.

The eye-catching oculus design would stretch above and below ground to accommodate a mix of six screens of up to 900 seats alongside a cultural industries hub to support the film industry and a rooftop events space although the design presently remains under development.

Ken Hay, chief executive of the Centre for the Moving Image, the parent body for the Filmhouse and Edinburgh International Film Festival, said: "This proposed new building will transform what we're able to do for Edinburgh's residents and Scotland's film community, as well as providing Scotland with a physical celebration of the most popular art form.

"Through doubling the number of screens and seats for regular cinema-goers, creating dedicated education and learning spaces, and developing an iconic festival centre, all within a fully-accessible and carbon-neutral building, this is a 21st Century temple for film."

Designed to be both carbon neutral and fully accessible the cinema totem would house 50% of its floor space below ground, maximising accessibility through multiple entrances, large format openable windows and transparent glazed cladding suitable for illumination at night. Screens on both sides of the building would also be used to preview the latest releases.

Three all-day public consultations are set to take place on 29 March, 1 April and 28 April at the Filmhouse ahead of a planning application in July. Subject to a successful fundraising campaign the towering venue could begin to rise from 2023.

Festival Square will be completely redesigned in accordance with its new role
Festival Square will be completely redesigned in accordance with its new role
The space beneath the square will be hollowed out to accommodate twin auditoriums
The space beneath the square will be hollowed out to accommodate twin auditoriums


#1 Posted by classarchitect on 11 Mar 2020 at 12:28 PM
Is it April 1st already?
Partick Bateman
#2 Posted by Partick Bateman on 11 Mar 2020 at 13:58 PM
I wouldn't object to something being built in Festival Square as it's a bit barren and windswept at the moment. It lacks the frontage to interest pedestrians and doesn't seem to be used by many. It could also help to hide the Sheraton, not sure if this is the answer though.
Robin B's Discount
#3 Posted by Robin B's Discount on 11 Mar 2020 at 15:07 PM
The transparent cinema screen on 1st floor is particularly impressive....
I do
#4 Posted by I do on 11 Mar 2020 at 15:32 PM
I bet al the wedding planners are wet already selling the venue to poor souls around. Cool place for a drink after dark on warm summer day thought. Nice filled for the underused Square.
Roy of the Rovers
#5 Posted by Roy of the Rovers on 11 Mar 2020 at 17:32 PM
I knew I had seen a similar design proposed close by a few years ago!
Callum Smith
#6 Posted by Callum Smith on 12 Mar 2020 at 00:20 AM
Think this looks great. It's unique and uses an underused square and will celebrate Scotland's film culture.
The carbon neutraliser
#7 Posted by The carbon neutraliser on 12 Mar 2020 at 10:23 AM
That's a lot of carbon there to neutralise. Interesting to understand how they're proposing on doing so, and if they're including the embodied carbon (suspect not)...

On a positive note, Festival Square can only benefit from a use such as this, although does Edinburgh need another Cinema complex?
#8 Posted by basho on 12 Mar 2020 at 12:30 PM
Festival Square is a dead space - even during the Festival! Great proposal - but we've seen a similar scheme before from the same architect, and nothing happened. Hope this gets planning, then they can start raising the funding.
#9 Posted by Stylecouncil on 12 Mar 2020 at 13:17 PM
#7 Its not exactly another ‘cinema complex’.
Nudge it down a bit, open up the gf floor, remove all the fussy over-designed fluff and get it built.
It could be a fantastic addition to the city both culturally and it urban terms.
#10 Posted by CraigMcCracken on 12 Mar 2020 at 13:38 PM
Knew I'd seen this before somewhere...

I actually really like it; the square is boring as it stands. This should bring some life to the square and is something fresh for Edinburgh.
town planner
#11 Posted by town planner on 12 Mar 2020 at 14:01 PM
#9 No doubt heritage folks will try to 'nudge it down a bit', personally hope that they don't. Also design-wise, I preferred the original scheme from way back, but nevermind...

Curious about the prominent white renderings, will they be capable of carrying videos/digital images? Could be a mini Piccadilly Circus in the center of town, which would be a lot more vibrant and exciting than it is currently.
Sultan of brooneye
#12 Posted by Sultan of brooneye on 12 Mar 2020 at 17:44 PM
Roof deck is foolishly naive. It has a canopy but no side protection. The only days warm enough to sit outside in Scotland still require you to be in direct sunlight or it watching the latest 3.5hour arthouse masterpiece may lead to hypothermia in the extreme. The other days with no warmth from the sun the elements blasting in from the sides. No clever.

The planning game is transparent here and every architect that’s ever worked on a large scale project in a sensitive location has played it. #YouveGotToBeACynicToWinIt
A. Vesnin
#13 Posted by A. Vesnin on 12 Mar 2020 at 23:58 PM
in a word.
- We can only wish cookies such as these get built but no chance. Who needs architecture when one's worldview measures just 4"x2" ?
Dick Dastardly
#14 Posted by Dick Dastardly on 13 Mar 2020 at 10:48 AM
Festival Square is a windswept wasteland and needs the building, which also enhances views from the surrounding streets. Inside however, there seemed to be more amorphous cafe/event space than cinemas, though maybe I am not reading it right. I will therefore break a lifetime principle and applaud an RM design. Anything which screens off the Sheraton Hotel frontage has to be a good thing.
#15 Posted by Terra on 7 Apr 2020 at 21:26 PM

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