This project currently demonstrates how to provide Edinburgh with a chamber music concert hall commensurate with the international reputation of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who currently use the existing Queen's Hall as its base. The hall is a church, built in 1840 and converted in the 1970s. The auditorium can seat 800 maximum of which 200 have restricted views. Many of the best seats also need to be removed if the orchestra is being joined by the choir. The brief for the new hall was to place on the same site an auditorium of 1200 seats (capable also of being reduced in number and conversion for flat floor events), to increase reverberation time, to double the size of the foyer, to vastly improve the backstage facilities while preserving the rear service entry and also to make the building more visibly accessible from the street.
We propose the demolition of the majority of the building with the exception of the steeple and pedimented facade to South Clerk Street. The new auditorium not only has more seats but also is substantially larger in volume per person to improve the acoustic performance. This has been achieved by occupying the entire width of the site, by digging into the ground and raising the height of the roof. In addition the auditorium was turned through 180 degrees so that the apse and staircases currently at the rear of the church and forming an integral part of the plan of the entrance now becomes the back drop to the stage of the new concert hall. To further enhance this marriage of new and old we proposed an oculus roof window so that the presence of the spire would be visible from within the auditorium during performances.
The space underneath the auditorium was developed extensively to the rear as a new foyer and this flows into the area currently occupied by the existing bar, itself a conversion of the former church hall. So extensive was the space released by this plan that it was felt possible to develop a small external garden at the centre of this new foyer. Underneath both the foyer and the auditorium is a new floor of backstage facilities accessed directly by a ramp from the rear service lane and allowing the stage to be serviced independently of the auditorium.
|Architects||Richard Murphy, Tom Fuggle, Joe Carnegie|
|Client||Board of the Queen's Hall|