Arts & Culture \ New National Centre for Music, Current Proposals

This project promoted by the Royal High School Preservation Trust envisages creating a National Centre for Music (NCM) within the original Thomas Hamilton building three performance and rehearsal spaces and a new foyer and circulation route connecting the lower ground floor. The Royal High School constructed between 1826 and 1829 by Thomas Hamilton (1784-1858), is one of the most important Greek revival buildings in the world and together with the concept of Edinburgh as the “Athens of the North”, with Calton Hill as the new Acropolis, it forms part of a much wider composition, and is seen from many vantage points around the city. Vacated by the school in 1968, it was altered by the PSA in the 1970’s to form a home for the Scottish Parliament, but was never used as such.

Our project envisages the demolition of the “Wilson Buildings”, built at the beginning of the twentieth century, returning the site to the original Hamilton arrangement with a new publicly accessible garden. The landscape has been developed to enhance the setting of the historic building within the site with the visitable public garden an integral part of the proposal.

The primary public entrance to the NCM is through a new accessible route across site entering at the western gate. The route brings visitors through a new landscaped area, onto the south terraces from which a panorama of Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat can be seen prior to entering the building through the original pend vault. Visitors can continue onwards along this route to reach the east garden, from Regent Road nothing will appear to have changed, but once patrons enter they will discover a new foyer placed under the main assembly hall. 

The new foyer is partially made from existing vaults and storerooms one of which is to be removed and partially excavating into the hillside.  A sequence of new contemporary vaults supports the raked floor of the main hall above. The main performance space envisages a variety of stage settings, automated by hydraulic floors, but with the building retaining its essence as a raked debating chamber format, albeit, amended for concert audience use.  The original staircases and the grand door to the south portico will be restored providing access to the portico terrace.

Client The Royal High School Preservation Trust
Architects Richard Murphy Architects in association with Simpson & Brown Architects
The Team Richard Murphy, James Mason, Angus Bolland, Iain McHale, Karel Kulm
CGIs Piotr Kmiotzyk, Organic Visualisations
Quantity Surveyor   Morham + Brochie
Structural Engineers David Narro Associates
Landscape Architects Optimised Environments (Open)
Planning Adviser Montagu Evans


Accessibility | Privacy Statement |
Subscribe to our Newsletter

© Richard Murphy Architects Ltd 1991-2024.

Registered in Scotland No 255372.

Site by Redstone Websites - Easy to Use Web Content Management.