David Chipperfield Architects is to redesign and scale back its designs for a £45 million concert hall in Edinburgh in a move to avert a costly legal battle
In April the practice got the go-ahead for a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra featuring a 1,000-seat auditorium and 200-seat studio on a site next to the proposed Edinburgh St James retail and hotel-led development.
But, shortly after approval, the plans, backed by the International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust (Impact) Scotland, were subject to a legal challenge by Nuveen Real Estate, the developer of the neighbouring 80,000m² St James scheme.
In July 2019 Nuveen, which had concerns about the concert hall’s height, scale and mass, petitioned the Court of Session for a judicial review of the planning permission granted by Edinburgh City Council.
However, Impact backed down in a mediation process overseen by the council and the judicial review will now be avoided. Impact confirmed it would be retaining the practice to work on a fresh application.
Martin Perry, director of Nuveen Real Estate said: ‘We welcome the initiative to substantially reduce the size of the concert hall and we are happy to work with Impact Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council as [the team] develops a new design which addresses our principal concerns.
He added: ‘We hope the new design will better accord with the aspirations for this quarter of the city.’
Ewan Brown, chair of Impact, said he was ‘hugely encouraged by the positive discussions we have had with [Nuveen Real Estate]’, adding: ‘[We] look forward to continuing to work with them to deliver a world-class concert hall.’
The concert hall, as originally proposed, would sit behind an architectural jewel in central Edinburgh – Dundas House, the 1774 home of landowner and politician Lawrence Dundas.
Nuveen was not the only opponent of Chipperfield’s scheme. In 2018 the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland objected to the plans, arguing that the building would ‘tower over’ Dundas House.
Despite the objections, the council’s planning committee narrowly approved the proposal.
Adam McVey, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said he was ’delighted’ that an agreement had been struck between the parties. He added: ’This is an important new venue for our city and in one of the most sustainable locations, with fantastic public transport connections. We will now work with Impact Scotland and Edinburgh St James to continue the delivery of the regeneration of the east end of the city centre.’
Original project data
Original completion due date 2021
Client Impact Scotland
Architect David Chipperfield Architects
Project director Alasdair Graham
Project architect Johannes Feder
Executive architect Reiach and Hall Architects
Landscape architect GROSS.MAX
Structural engineer Whitby Wood
Services engineer Arup
Lighting consultant Arup
Façade consultant Thornton Tomasetti
Acoustic consultant Nagata Acoustics (hall and studio), Arup (venue)
Fire protection Atelier Ten
Quantity surveyor Turner & Townsend
Project management Turner & Townsend
Gross floor area 10,000m²
Plan chipperfield impact