Fundraising campaign launched for Princes Street Gardens revamp

A £25 million fundraising campaign has been launched to support the Ross Development Trust’s project to transform Princes Street Gardens.

The newly named Quaich Project will see a new venue for open-air concerts and events created on the site of the current Ross Bandstand.

Fundraising campaign launched for Princes Street Gardens revamp

A team led by US-based design practice wHY won an international competition to revitalise the historic site back in 2017.

The Quaich Project takes its name from the traditional Highland ‘sharing cup’.  The topography of the land that forms West Princes Street Gardens closely mirrors the bowl of a typical quaich and, appropriately, the vision for the project aims to bring people together in new ways to celebrate one of Scotland’s finest green spaces, and Edinburgh’s status as one the world’s most beautiful, vibrant and welcoming capitals, generating new connections both locally and internationally.

Norman Springford, chairman of the Ross Development Trust, said “Our vision is to champion a project to make the gardens truly world class and accessible to all members of the community. Whether a local resident or a visitor, the gardens will welcome all and have something different to offer everyone – young and old. The renewed gardens will offer a more enjoyable and pleasant experience for everyone, whether they’re looking for a quiet place to stop and rest, want to enjoy a walk in the shadow of one of the world’s most iconic castles, or whether they want to enjoy a performance in a stunning venue.

“The project will provide more accessibility and will improve connections to Princes Street and the wider city. Edinburgh, as Scotland’s capital, deserves to have a landmark space that makes a clear statement about the city’s status as a welcoming, diverse, historic and forward-thinking destination for all to enjoy. Our ambition is to create a space that says something about us as a nation – a place we can all be proud of.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, convener of culture and communities, said: “West Princes Gardens are a central and much-loved part of civic life in the city. One of our greatest assets, the gardens are an important public space where everyone should feel welcome and enjoy the beautiful and iconic surroundings. 

“The project has already captured the public’s imagination and we have worked with the Ross Development Trust to successfully complete an international design competition for the new Ross Pavilion, upgrade the Gardeners Cottage and restore the Ross Fountain. The Quaich Project will realise the promise of the winning design and ensure enjoyment for generations to come.”

Detailed design work will be undertaken over the next few months with a formal application being submitted early in 2020.

Mark Thomann, design director at wHY, said “Our project will celebrate the traditional roots of Scottish hospitality while containing the promise of good times yet to come in the heart of the city. The Quaich becomes a visual and spatial representation of this connection between the land and the people, fashioned from the unique terrain and flavour of Scottish history.”

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