Map West Princes St Gardens
Ross Pavilion
Ross Fountain
Garden Gateway
Lighting & Wayfinding

The Ross Pavilion

What needs to happen?

The new Pavilion will be an internationally recognisable image for exhilarating national celebrations, with the ability to also function as a space for daily community activities, while the Gardens remain a refuge from city life.

The new Pavilion will be predominantly used for daily community activities, but must also be able to accommodate Edinburgh’s world famous major events, such as, Edinburgh International Festival’s closing fireworks 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 will generate an appetite from residents and visitors alike, to visit the city centre and enjoy this unique green space.

The increased footfall will also 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.

We aim to create a true ‘place for people’ by broadening the demographic profile of those who visit the gardens and widening social inclusion.


The design of the new Pavilion balances the historic and traditional image of Edinburgh and its role as a modern, vibrant City. The compelling need for reinvestment in infrastructure and enhanced facilities in the Gardens is the key consideration in the winning design, along with the understanding of the significance of the location and history.

It is important to remember that the Theatre is located within a garden. The existing design comprises a large concrete seating area attached to the Theatre 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 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 new Pavilion design communicates 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 was a key theme within the design brief for the architectural design competition.

Design Competition

The international design competition was held on behalf of the Ross Development Trust by Malcolm Reading Consultants in 2017 . The design by wHY architects was unanimously selected as the competition winner.

The first stage of the competition was 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 then reviewed these first stage submissions and shortlisted seven practices, who were given a further briefing and asked to produce concept designs for the Pavilion. As part of a wide-ranging consultation process, the Trust held a public exhibition of the schemes and asked the public for their views.

An expert jury was assembled to assess concept designs, conduct interviews and select a winner. wHY was unanimously selected as the winner of the competition. Their team includes Edinburgh-based design studio GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth.

View Design Competition website
Malcolm Reading Consultants MRC