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Ross Pavilion
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The Ross Pavilion

What needs to happen?

To achieve international acclaim, the new Pavilion needs to present an internationally recognisable image, with the ability to function as a space for daily performances.

The new Pavilion will be predominantly used for some daily performances but must be able to accommodate Edinburgh’s world famous major events at the end of the festival and Hogmanay. It will also be used to complement the events on offer at the EICC, Assembly Rooms, and other venues within the City.

It provides a focal point for a unified City-wide entertainment and exhibition offer.

The building needs to generate an appetite by residents and visitors alike, to visit the city centre, and to increase footfall to encourage the enhancement of the city centre retail offer.

The commercial benefits highlight Edinburgh as a destination of choice, increase employment, and provide substantial opportunities to increase city revenues.

It will broaden the demographic profile of those who visit the gardens and widen social inclusion.


The new Pavilion needs to make a statement that Edinburgh not only has a historic and traditional image but is a modern, vibrant City. The enhancement of the Gardens will be the key consideration in any design submission along with the understanding of the significance of their location and history.

It is important to remember that the Bandstand is located within a garden. The existing design comprises a large concrete seating area attached to the Bandstand which acts as a barrier to public movement through the gardens and is virtually unused out with the few major events hosted there. The aim is to remove this completely and return the area to a garden landscape. This will open up the whole of the Gardens to visitors and create a new sense of place for what is intended to be an emblematic new Pavilion.

The Pavilion needs to communicate that Edinburgh’s appeal lies not only in its historic and traditional aspects but also in its contemporary energies. Edinburgh is a vibrant and creative City that is hugely attractive to people of all ages.

This initiative is focused on one of Scotland’s most sensitive and high-profile sites so the protection of the Gardens is essential; returning space to garden use is a core objective and is a key theme within the design brief for the architectural design competition.

Design Competition

The Ross Development Trust has commissioned Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), one of Europe’s leading hosts of international design competitions, to manage the two-stage competition process.

MRC is known for its ability to crystallise design briefs and inspire architects and other designers. They have a global following and are highly experienced in generating media interest. The consultancy’s recent successes include competitions for the Royal College of Art; the Illuminated River; the Museum of London; the gold medal-winning UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, and New College, Oxford.

The first stage of the competition will be an international search for a multi-disciplinary design team, based on relevant skills, past experience and an understanding of the project brief.

A selection panel will review these first stage submissions and shortlist five practices, who will be given a further briefing and asked to produce concept designs for the Pavilion. As part of a wide-ranging consultation process, the Trust will hold a public exhibition of the schemes and ask the public for their views.

An expert jury will be assembled to assess concept designs, conduct interviews and select a winner.

View Design Competition website
Malcolm Reading Consultants MRC