Work has started on the Scottish capital’s first purpose-built music and performance venue in over 100 years.

Also the first UK concert hall to be designed by David Chipperfield Architects and world-renowned acousticians Nagata Acoustics, the milestone was described as important as deconstruction teams moved in to start clearance works for Edinburgh’s Dunard Centre.

Newly released drone footage highlights from January the narrow site which will house the 1,000-seater venue, currently occupied by a 1960s annexe of the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters at 36 St Andrew Square.

Gavin Reid, IMPACT Scotland co-chair, said: “Live music on day one is the perfect start to this extraordinary project: it’s exhilarating to be here and getting on with the job.”

Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM) is the firm appointed to manage preparatory works.

Mark Gibson, managing director northern, SRM, said: “This important development at the heart of Edinburgh will bring huge benefits to the city, and will be an opportunity for the SRM project team to make a positive impact on local communities with tangible and measurable social value outcomes.”

It is expected that all clearance work will be complete by late 2023 and that work will begin on the new concert hall soon after.

The venue will be a transformational new home for Scottish Chamber Orchestra, an iconic new venue for Edinburgh International Festival and a gift to music lovers and performers of all genres. 

The Dunard Centre is being funded through substantial philanthropic donations, including the visionary support of Dunard Fund, and underpinned by £25 million support from the Scottish and UK governments and the City of Edinburgh Council, as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Royal Bank of Scotland is supporting the project by providing a long-term lease for the land which sits directly behind Dundas House on St Andrew Square.

A spokesperson for Dunard Fund, said: “Dunard Fund is thrilled that Sir David Chipperfield's monumental addition to Scotland's musical landscape is, from today, on the road towards completion as a home to all performance groups and individuals from Scotland and further afield, as a visionary venue for the Edinburgh International Festival, and as a more regular base for the Dunedin Consort, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.”

Angus Robertson, Scottish Government Culture Secretary said: “This Scottish Government funding worth £10 million through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is helping boost the economy by creating a world-class attraction in the heart of the city.”

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