Monthly Archives

June 2017

The Ross Fountain; ten fascinating facts

By | Design Competition, Ross Fountain

Restoration of the Ross Fountain, an iconic landmark within the city’s West Princes Street Gardens, is now underway.

It’s a huge undertaking. 122 individual cast-iron pieces are being dismantled and removed over the next few weeks for a full restoration that will see the fountain returned and reassembled in full working order in the Gardens next summer. So, as the temporary screening goes up around the fountain site, here are ten fascinating facts about the Ross Fountain:

1. The Fountain was purchased as a gift to the city by Edinburgh gunsmith, Daniel Ross – “with inclination to art and science” – at the Great Exhibition of London in 1862.

2. It was erected in its present position in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872, but only after much wrangling over its position until the current site was agreed.

3. Ross himself never got to see the Fountain installed; he died the year before in 1871.

4. It was originally agreed that the fountain should operate only “on Sundays and when the band plays…”

5. Dean Ramsay, the mid-Victorian minister of St John’s Episcopal Church, on Princes Street said the amount of nudity in the sculptures was “grossly indecent and disgusting; insulting and offensive to the moral feelings of the community and disgraceful to the city”.

6. The female figures represent art, science, poetry and industry, whilst the figure on the top of the Fountain is holding a cornucopia.

7. It is from the world-famous foundry of Antoine Durenne, in Sommevoire Haute Marne in France.

8. The figures were sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Jules Klagmann, born April 1810, whose other work includes figures for the Louvre and fountains in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.

9. The Fountain is a magnificent example of 19th century cast-iron work, in the neoclassical style commonly known as Beaux Arts.

10. It is one of only two A-listed cast iron fountains in the UK.

To find out more about how Ross Development Trust are undertaking the restoration of the Ross Fountain and the Trust’s broader project to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens. Learn more about the restoration of the Ross Fountain and find out how you can get involved with and support the Trust.


The Ross Pavilion Design Competition – Free exhibition of shortlisted designs

By | Design Competition, Ross Pavilion

An exhibition of shortlisted entries for the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition will be on public display at Edinburgh’s City Arts Centre Wednesday-Sunday each week from 21st June until 30th July.

Admission is free to the exhibition, which is housed on the Floor-1 Gallery of the Arts Centre building located at 2 Market Street, just behind Waverley Street Station. Edinburgh’s residents, and anyone with an affinity for West Princes Street Gardens, are invited to visit the exhibition and view designs and storyboards from the 7 architect-led teams whose entries are shortlisted.

Anyone visiting the exhibition will have the opportunity to provide the Ross Development Trust, who are running the competition, feedback on its plans to replace the Ross Bandstand and revitalise West Princes Street Gardens. Feedback forms will be available at the exhibition.

In addition, young children visiting the exhibition can take part in a fun contest to create their own design for a new Pavilion. The most interesting kids designs will be published on the Trust’s website and facebook.

From 21st June you can view the shortlisted designs online here on our website, where you’ll also be able to submit your views on plans to replace the Ross Bandstand with a new Pavilion and comment on the Trust’s plans to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens.

Here follows a brief overview of the Ross Pavilion contest, its place within a wider ambition to revitalise Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens and an introduction to The Ross Development Trust, who are leading the project to improve Edinburgh’s much-loved Gardens on every level.


The Ross Bandstand, originally built in the 1870s and located centrally within West Princes Street Gardens, has fallen into disrepair and is no longer fit for purpose.The Ross Development Trust, whose wider plans are to lead a revitalisation of the Gardens, ran an International Design Competition to find a winning design for a replacement Pavilion.

The Trust is working in close partnership with the the City of Edinburgh Council, and with other key stakeholders such as Historic Environment Scotland, the Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage.

What the competition sets out to do:

  • Replace the old Bandstand with a new multi-use performance venue in the form of a Pavilion. To be known as the Ross Pavilion.
  • Remove the barrier and ‘dead-zone’ created by the old Bandstand to allow improved public movement year-round through the Gardens
  • Return large parts of what is a concrete void to garden use
  • Install a new Pavilion which is sensitive to the historic context and setting of the Gardens while also reflecting Edinburgh’s contemporary energies
  • Ensure the new Pavilion is accessible to residents and visitors alike and meets the needs of event promoters like the Edinburgh Festival

About the competition:

  • Competition sought an outstanding team of architects, landscape designers, engineers and other specialists for the new Ross Pavilion – estimated budget £25m
  • Competition overseen by Malcolm Reading Consultants on behalf of the Trust
  • Jury assembled by the Ross Development Trust included architects Ada Yvars Bravo, Malcolm Reading and Riccardo Marini, author Alexander McCall Smith and Sir Mark Jones, former Director of the National Museum of Scotland and the V&A
  • 125 teams (made up of 400 individual firms) entered the competition with over half the submissions coming from overseas
  • 7 finalist teams, each led by an architect, shortlisted 29th March 2017, with their design entries on public display from mid-June for 6 weeks

The Shortlist

The shortlisted designs are from teams led by the following architects:

  • Adjaye Associates (UK)
  • BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark)
  • Flanagan Lawrence (UK)
  • Page \ Park Architects (UK)
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway)
  • wHY (USA)
  • William Matthews Associates (UK) and Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan)

You can view more details of the shortlisted design here

For more information about the Ross Development Trust and our plans to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens, explore our website, like our facebook or follow us on twitter.

You can also:

subscribe to our e-news and we’ll keep you informed about our project

make a donation to help the Trust raise the vital funds for revitalising the Gardens.

volunteer your time to assist with our project.