City of Edinburgh Council approves landmark performance venue

The Dunard Centre, supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, is set to be Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music and performance venue in over 100 years, after City of Edinburgh Council approved the plans at today’s Development Management Sub Committee.

The plan is for the 1,000 capacity auditorium building to be inserted just behind Dundas House off St Andrew Square.

As the cultural flagship for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, the Dunard Centre will fill a recognised gap in the region’s cultural infrastructure and provide a platform for local, national and international musicians to perform.

Consultants Nagata Acoustics have been working with David Chipperfield Architects on the design.

The flexible setting will be a home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as well as host for other ensembles, choirs, solo musicians and bands.

A café and an all-day events schedule will be included, with education and community outreach programmes encouraging participation throughout the region.

The Dunard Centre will sit behind Dundas House, linking to St Andrew Square with the Register Lanes and the new St James Quarter
The Dunard Centre will sit behind Dundas House, linking to St Andrew Square with the Register Lanes and the new St James Quarter

Fergus Linehan, chief executive of Edinburgh International Festival and co-chair of IMPACT Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is a city famous for its cultural life and home to world-renowned arts festivals which generate over £300m for the Scottish economy, but it lags behind many other cities in its provision of cultural infrastructure which currently deters some artists from choosing to perform in the city.

“By creating a modern hall with outstanding facilities and acoustics, we are closing the recognised gap in the region’s cultural infrastructure and helping to sustain Edinburgh’s position as a leading cultural city against national and international competition.”

Gavin Reid, chief executive of Scottish Chamber Orchestra and co-chair of IMPACT Scotland, said: “A stunning auditorium offering the very best in modern acoustics and boasting state of the art digital broadcast facilities will allow us to dream big, expand our repertoire, collaborate with ever more composers and artists, present our work innovatively, courageously and flexibly all with a new-found sense of adventure and ambition, always seeking to reach more and more people.”

Sir David Chipperfield, principal at David Chipperfield Architects, said: “Embedded in the dense area of the Registry Lanes and also on the grand civic axis with Dundas House, the project marks the pivoting point between the New Town and St. James Quarter.

“Our ambition is to create a building of distinction that is respectful of its complex context while establishing a significant new cultural destination and place in this wonderful city.”

Roddy Woomble, lead vocalist with Idlewild, added: “Since I’ve known the city, many great venues have come and gone, but the Dunard Centre sounds like it will be here to stay – an ambitious, creative space that will encourage and showcase local talent, alongside national and international performers.”

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