And wHY not? US ‘Hobbit House’ to replace Ross Bandstand
A design dubbed “The Hobbit House” has won the competition to create a new outdoor concert arena to replace the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. American firm wHY beat off stiff competition from 125 teams from 22 countries to design the £25m project.
The imaginative design will see a series of new green spaces connected by an undulating promenade linked to the Royal Mile, along with a new Ross Pavilion and indoor visitor centre.
Seven architects were shortlisted to lead the major redevelopment of Edinburgh’s Ross Bandstand. All submitted comprehensive designs in line with the brief prepared by The Ross Development Trust.
Each was invited to create concept designs for the £25m project brief, which includes a new landmark venue to replace the bandstand, a visitor centre and subtle updates to West Princes Street Gardens.
The seven teams of architects and designers were selected earlier this year from a pool of 125 entries. Entries from the shortlisted teams have been on display at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh since 21st June.
In addition to entries from UK-based architects, others were received from architects and designers based in Europe, Japan and the USA.
The winning design was announced this morning.Norman Springford, Competition Jury Chair, said: “As is always the case with initiatives of this size and stature, the jury had a hard job! We are confident however that we have a winning concept that embodies an imaginative ensemble landscape approach, creating a wonderful stage for our iconic Edinburgh Castle. In addition, the design concept offers a creative energy and a series of unique elements which will all combine to create a new and contemporary landscape.
“We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the shortlisted teams and understanding each approach. However with wHY, they demonstrated an impressive collaboration which respects and enhances the historical context and backdrop of the Castle and the City, whilst creating new heritage and increasing the green space within the Gardens. All of which were key aspects for us all and respected the importance of the space within a World Heritage Site.”
Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener, said: “We have seen some of the most influential architects and landscapers join forces to compete to design the new Ross Pavilion. The huge international interest in the competition is testament to Edinburgh’s standing as one of the world’s most beautiful and creative settings for live performance.
“All of the shortlisted teams put forward fantastic ideas but wHY’s Butterfly concept received the jury’s collective support. The chosen design makes the most of the natural surroundings of Princes Street Gardens and focuses on connecting people to the city, the stage and the view of Edinburgh Castle.
“It is hugely exciting to reach this stage of the project. Our thanks go to the Ross Development Trust for their vision and support and our congratulations to wHY on their winning design.”
Recent wHY projects include the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and Skylanding with Yoko Ono, in the historic Olmsted designed Jackson Park in Chicago.
The total project value is estimated to be £25 million and project completion is expected by December 2019.