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Doubts emerge over future of wHY’s contest-winning Ross Pavilion project

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Plans by a team led by US practice wHY for a performance space in West Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh have been put on ice over wrangles on land ownership, according to The Scotsman

The paper has reported that businessman Norman Springford, chairman of the charitable trust behind the proposed £25 million Ross Pavilion replacement scheme, voiced worries about the intentions of Edinburgh City Council.

He told the paper that design work and fundraising efforts have been suspended because the council will not pass responsibility for running the gardens to the Ross Development Trust.

He was quoted as saying: ‘We don’t want to see over-commercialisation. Anything that is done has to be of the highest quality.

‘The council has different agendas, in different areas, depending on who you speak to.’

A statement from the council said: ‘The redevelopment of the Ross Pavilion will open up West Princes Street Gardens into a space which can be enjoyed by more people, more often, for generations to come.

‘We’re working together with the trust to develop a business plan to provide clarity on the future operating model for the Ross Pavilion.’

The Scotsman said that the city’s Cockburn Association had also raised concerns about the blurring of public open space and private space in the gardens.

wHY, working with Edinburgh-based GRAS and Groves-Raines Architects, was chosen for the project in August ahead of six other shortlisted bids drawn up by such architectural stars as Adjaye Associates, BIG and Sou Fujimoto.

The jury praised wHY’s concept design as ‘a beautiful and intensely appealing proposal that complemented, but did not compete with, the skyline of the city and the castle.’

The brief called for an ‘outstanding team’ to deliver a landmark venue on a prominent site beneath Edinburgh Castle within the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Zone as well as improvements to the surrounding park.

More than 125 teams entered the Malcolm Reading Consultants-organised contest to design the new pavilion below Edinburgh Castle – a replacment for the 1935 Ross Bandstand. Construction had been expected to start next year.

Malcolm Reading Consultants and GRAS have been contacted for comment.

Factfile

wHY is a collective of architects, landscape designers, makers and strategic thinkers, established in  2004 and with offices in New York and Los Angeles. The studio’s competition-winning entry was led by founder and creative director Kulapat Yantrasast and landscape design director Mark Thomann.

Finalists

wHY with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth
Adjaye Associates with Morgan McDonnell, BuroHappold Engineering, Plan A Consultants, JLL, Turley, Arup, Sandy Brown, Charcoalblue, AOC Archaeology, Studio LR, FMDC, Interserve and Thomas & Adamson
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with JM Architects, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, GROSS.MAX., Charcoalblue, Speirs + Major, JLL, Alan Baxter and People Friendly
Flanagan Lawrence with Gillespies, Expedition Engineering, JLL, Arup and Alan Baxter
Page\Park Architects and West 8 Landscape Architects and BuroHappold Engineering with Charcoalblue and Muir Smith Evans
Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter with GROSS.MAX, AECOM, Charcoalblue, Groves-Raines Architects and Forbes Massie Studio
William Matthews Associates and Sou Fujimoto Architects with BuroHappold Engineering, GROSS.MAX, Purcell, Scott Hobbs Planning and Filippo Bolognese

Ross Pavilion WINNER: wHY Architecture with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth

Ross Pavilion WINNER: wHY Architecture with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth

Ross Pavilion WINNER: wHY Architecture with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth [model]

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