“Hobbit house” concert arena to replace Ross Bandstand

The Ross Development Trust has revealed the winning project to replace the Ross Bandstand and revitalise the West Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh.

An international collaboration between US-based design practice wHY, including UK design studio GRAS, has won the £25m competition. The five-month search for the concept attracted first-stage submissions from 125 teams (made up of 400 firms) from 22 different countries.

New Ross Pavillion

Inspired by the Gardens’ geology and history the design subtly positions the new visitor centre and the ‘butterfly’ Pavilion into the folds of the landscape, enabling the Castle to remain the main visual event.

The winners proposed an organic landscape-focused scheme that respects the historic setting but also animates the Gardens through the introduction of a new undulating promenade, transformed access from Princes Street, sculptural seating and dynamic open views.

Commenting on the project Kulapat Yantrasast, founder and creative director of wHY, said: “To be selected from so many extraordinary thinkers is an honour. We felt a personal connection to the Gardens and believe our design embodies how important collaboration and people are to making a place remarkable.”

A key local partner in the winning collaboration was Edinburgh-based design studio GRAS, known for its exploratory, interdisciplinary approach and an eclectic portfolio of arts, cultural and community-based projects. 

Gunnar Groves-Raines, Director of GRAS, commented: “It is a true honour to be selected to deliver a project of this significance in the heart of our home town and to work as a central part of such a diverse and talented international design team.

wHY will now work with the Ross Development Trust, the City of Edinburgh Council and other stakeholders, and consult with the public, to take forward the project to revitalise this space, positioned just below Edinburgh Castle and adjoining Princes’ Street.

Currently occupied by the Ross Bandstand, the site is the venue of choice for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the closing fireworks concert of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Construction is expected to begin in 2018.