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Chipperfield’s Edinburgh concert hall set for approval

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Planning officers have backed David Chipperfield Architects’ proposals for a £45 million concert hall in Edinburgh 

Their report calls on councillors to grant planning permission for the 1,000-capacity Impact Centre venue on St Andrew Square when they meet next week.

David Chipperfield Architects’ London studio saw off big names in 2017 including Adjaye Associates and Toronto-based KPMB to win an international competition for the high-profile scheme in the Scottish capital.

The plans, submitted to Edinburgh City Council last summer, drew a mixed response. 

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland objected to the plans, saying the building would ‘tower over’ Category A-listed 18th-century Dundas House, which will sit to the rear of the concert hall and continue to operate as a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Others raised concerns over the impact of the scheme on the character and appearance of the New Town Conservation Area. Reduced daylight, sunlight and privacy for neighbours were also cited.

But now planners have decided that cultural and placemaking benefits to the city outweigh any adverse effects, and have recommended approval.

‘The proposed design of the building is based on a strong concept which draws upon the positive characteristics of the surrounding area,’ said their report. ‘The overall height and form create a subtle and positive addition to the skyline, appropriate for a civic building.’

Planners said the scheme had been ‘sensitively designed’ to minimise the impact on the setting of Dundas House. They said there would be no reduction of privacy for neighbours and only minor loss of daylight and sunlight.

They added that the scheme would enhance the character of the New Town Conservation Area. ‘The proposal’s gentle domed roof, symmetry to the axis of George Street, glazed colonnade and the elliptical form of the hall assist in mediating between the scale of the Neoclassical Dundas House and the contemporary Edinburgh St James development,’ their report said.

The venue, which is backed by performing arts charitable trust IMPACT Scotland, would be Edinburgh’s first dedicated new space for music and the performing arts in over a century.

The 10,000m² project, which has received the support of Edinburgh heritage body the Cockburn Association, also includes a 200-seat studio theatre as well as rehearsal, recital and recording spaces.

Councillors will meet on Wednesday 24 April to make a formal decision on the scheme. 

Design evolution chipperfield scottish chamber

Design evolution chipperfield scottish chamber

Project data

Competition 2017
Completion due 2021
Client lMPACT Scotland
Architect David Chipperfield Architects
Project director Alasdair Graham
Project architect Johannes Feder
Team Freddie Armitage, Matt Ball, Nick Beissengroll, Micha Gamper, Jochen Glemser, Sofia Gozzi, Christopher Harvey, Rory Hughes, Daniel Itten, Craig Johnston, Antonio Mazzolai, Matthias Odazzi, Charlie Proctor, Simonpietro Salini, Jana Schwalb
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 consultants 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

Plan chipperfield impact

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