Proposals from seven teams vying to win the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition are going on display at the Council’s City Art Centre.

The space is currently occupied by the Ross Bandstand and is located just off Princes Street, within West Princes Street Gardens, and is framed by spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle.

For much of the year a tranquil haven, it is also the seasonal focus for some of Scotland’s most high-profile events and celebrations, notably Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks.

Its rich history dates back to records of live music performances on the site date from as early as 1853. However, in recent times the structure has fallen into disrepair and does not meet the requirements of today’s live events.

The ambition to replace the Bandstand dates back to 2004, when the current structure proved unable to withstand the intense storms experienced during the 2003 Hogmanay celebrations.

The project was revived in March 2015, when Edinburgh hotelier Norman Springford came forward as project sponsor. The Ross Development Trust was established in 2016 to manage the redevelopment of West Princes Street Gardens.

An international competition was set up to seek an outstanding team for the £25m Ross Pavilion and Gardens project. The brief included the design of the new landmark Pavilion but also a visitor centre and a café.

The seven shortlisted concept designs are now available to view in an online gallery on the international competition website and in a free-to-enter public exhibition at the Council’s City Art Centre, which runs for five weeks.

Norman Springford, Chairman of the Ross Development Trust, said: “The revival of this, one of Edinburgh’s best and most prominent sites, is a hugely exciting prospect and we now have seven fascinating design concepts from some of the world’s most in-demand creative minds. These design concepts help us visualise how the new Ross Pavilion could both complement and act as a counterpoise to the Gardens and the Castle. The concepts will now be assessed in detail and the public will get their chance to comment.  The jury will interview the teams and review and debate each submission in turn.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “The global response to the competition reaffirms the worldwide interest the city of Edinburgh and this venue is able to command. It really is exciting to see the possibilities for the Ross Pavilion unfold and we welcome all thoughts and comments from Edinburgh residents on the short-listed schemes. One of these designs is set to become one of Edinburgh’s most important new venues.”

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said: “Such was the appeal of the project that the competition brought the global design community to Edinburgh! Each of the finalists knows winning would be both a privilege and a career-defining moment. While the seven Pavilions show different approaches, the competing teams are connected by a shared love of materials, form and placemaking. Of course, these are concepts, and not final designs – the winning team will work closely to develop their ideas with the City Council and the Ross Development Trust.”

The seven-strong shortlist that reached the second stage of the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition was selected from the 125 teams (made up of 400 individual firms) who entered the competition.  The Pavilion, which will provide a flexible platform for the imaginative arts and cultural programming that Edinburgh excels in, will allow visitors and residents to engage with a variety of events all year round.  

The proposals on show are by the following shortlisted teams (in alphabetical order):

  • Adjaye Associates with Morgan McDonnell, BuroHappold Engineering, Plan A Consultants, JLL, Turley, Arup, Sandy Brown, Charcoalblue, AOC Archaeology, Studio LR, FMDC, Interserve and Thomas & Adamson
  • Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with JM Architects, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, GROSS.MAX., Charcoalblue, Speirs + Major, JLL, Alan Baxter and People Friendly
  • Flanagan Lawrence with Gillespies, Expedition Engineering, JLL, Arup and Alan Baxter
  • Page \ Park Architects, West 8 Landscape Architects and BuroHappold Engineering with Charcoalblue and Muir Smith Evans
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter with GROSS.MAX., AECOM, Charcoalblue, Groves-Raines Architects and Forbes Massie Studio
  • wHY, GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth with Alan Cumming, Aaron Hicklin, Beatrice Colin, Peter Ross, Alison Watson and Adrian Turpin
  • William Matthews Associates and Sou Fujimoto Architects with BuroHappold Engineering, GROSS.MAX., Purcell and Scott Hobbs Planning

The jury, which includes Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE, Sir Mark Jones FSA, FRSE along with Andrew Kerr, CEO, City of Edinburgh Council and Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage will subsequently meet to interview the teams and the winner announcement is expected in early August 2017.


A free-to-enter public exhibition of the shortlisted concept designs is being held at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh from 21 June until 30 July 2017.

Wednesday to Saturday 10am-5pm

Sunday Noon-5pm