THE first purpose-built performance venue in Scotland's capital to be built in more than 100 years has received approval from the city's council.

The Dunard Centre will be built in Edinburgh just behind Dundas House off St Andrews Square, transforming a forgotten site into an exciting new destination.

Boasting a capacity of 1000 people, the venue will fill a recognised gap in the region’s cultural infrastructure and provide a platform for local, national and international musicians to perform to audiences in a hall designed to rival the very best in the world.

The National:

The National:

Bold programming is expected from the Dunard Centre with unexpected collaborations promised and a line-up of events to appeal to audiences of all ages and tastes.

The flexible setting will be a home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as well as a host for other ensembles, choirs, solo musicians and bands.

A welcoming cafe and an all-day events schedule will ensure the centre’s contribution as a cultural hub and showcase venue, with education and community outreach programmes encouraging participation throughout the region. 

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The sleek auditorium was designed by David Chipperfield Architects with help from expert consultants Nagata Acoustics whose previous high-profile projects include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Philharmonie de Paris and Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, all venues renowned for their rich and immersive sound.

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The National:

Edinburgh is known globally as the festival city for the annual Festival which is the largest arts festival in the world.

Other cultural destinations around the world are investing heavily in new venue infrastructure, leaving Edinburgh, which has not had a new hall in 100 years, at risk of lagging behind.

The project is being taken forward by IMPACT Scotland with £35 million of funding coming from the Dunard Fund and a further £25m coming from the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The project has been supported by Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Welcoming the decision, Fergus Linehan, festival director and CEO of Edinburgh International Festival and co-chair of IMPACT Scotland said: “Edinburgh is a city famous for its cultural life and home to world-renowned arts festivals which generate over £300 million for the Scottish economy, but it lags behind many other cities in its provision of cultural infrastructure which currently deters some artists from choosing to perform in the city. 

"By creating a modern hall with outstanding facilities and acoustics, we are closing the recognised gap in the region’s cultural infrastructure and helping to sustain Edinburgh’s position as a leading cultural city against national and international competition. 

"At the same time, we are creating a year-round cultural hub to offer a diverse range of performances and an extensive education and community outreach programme.”   

The National: Left to Right: Joanna Baker, executive director IMPACT Scotland, Fergus Linehan co-chair IMPACT Scotland, Gavin Reid co-chair IMPACT Scotland. Photo: Ian GeorgesonLeft to Right: Joanna Baker, executive director IMPACT Scotland, Fergus Linehan co-chair IMPACT Scotland, Gavin Reid co-chair IMPACT Scotland. Photo: Ian Georgeson

Gavin Reid, CEO of Scottish Chamber Orchestra and co-chair of IMPACT Scotland said: “Today’s approval is tremendous news for the City and turns the ambition for a world-class centre for music and performance, into a reality. The Dunard Centre will become the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and will be transformational.

"A stunning auditorium offering the very best in modern acoustics and boasting state of the art digital broadcast facilities will allow us to dream big, expand our repertoire, collaborate with ever more composers and artists, present our work innovatively, courageously and flexibly all with a new-found sense of adventure and ambition, always seeking to reach more and more people.”

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Sir David Chipperfield, principal at David Chipperfield Architects, said: “Throughout the process of developing the design of the Dunard Centre we have embraced both the qualities and the challenges of working with such an extraordinary site.

"Embedded in the dense area of the Registry Lanes and also on the grand civic axis with Dundas House, the project marks the pivoting point between the New Town and St. James Quarter.

"Our ambition is to create a building of distinction that is respectful of its complex context while establishing a significant new cultural destination and place in this wonderful city.”