I have received the best possible news with regard to the historic landscape of Princes Street Gardens set around what many generation of Edinburgh citizens have known as the Ross Bandstand.

This site of great geological importance is located dramatically beneath the imposing volcanic rock upon which Edinburgh Castle has come to be formed over many centuries.

I can think of no city centre more inspiring.


Viewed from Princes Street, it is undoubtedly an iconic space.

For many centuries, it housed the Nor Loch until that was replaced by the engineers who gave Edinburgh the Railway Age.

Architects from all over the world were attracted to the competition of restoring this city-centre space to one in which nature could be celebrated.

The successful team which have emerged as worthy winners of this architectural competition have focused, not on the architecture of a replacement building of the Ross Bandstand, but on the landscape itself.

It has thus seemed inevitable that Mark Thomann, a landscape architect working at the University of Pennsylvania, should have provided what now appears to be an obvious solution.

Together with the young Edinburgh-based architect, Gunnar Groves-Raines, he has provided plans which will reveal the quintessential beauty of this site which links the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.

This architectural team realised that the Ross Bandstand provided the perfect setting for outdoor concerts.

They viewed an alternative theatrical structure as a natural extension of the landscape.

It will undoubtedly become a nodal point in the future programming of Edinburgh Festival concerts and events.

I have been blessed all my life as an artist, living in a city which provided me with all the inspiration I needed to make cityscapes in the form of drawings and watercolour paintings.

I can imagine this architectural rethink will provide me with new art works.

I congratulate the jury upon their decision and the architects on their loving and poetic understanding.

I look forward, as I am sure many Edinburgh citizens do, to a much-needed revitalisation of a space in which nature deserves to be honoured and enjoyed.

Richard Demarco CBE

Emeritus Professor of European Cultural Studies