A new, world-class concert venue for Edinburgh

We ran two competitions for IMPACT Scotland : 

The first, to find an internationally acclaimed acoustic consultant to help define the brief for the concert halls.

The second, to  find a design-led team to conceive and deliver a stunning design for this new, world-class concert venue in the heart of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site.

"On behalf of all my colleagues at IMPACT Scotland, I want to thank Colander for the caring, diligent and totally professional way in which you helped us secure the services of our acoustician and architect-led design team.   You managed to make the whole process run very smoothly and the proof of the pudding is that we have ended up with appointments that, I am sure, will serve us well."

— Sir Ewan Brown, Chairman, IMPACT Scotland



The winning consultant acoustician was Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics (Japan)

Three other acousticians were shortlisted and interviewed:


The winning team was led by David Chipperfield Architects and included Arup, Whitby Mohair Engineers, GROSS MAX and Theatre Projects

Five other teams were shortlisted and interviewed:

  • Adjaye Associates (London) with Sandy Brown, Buro Happold and DHA Designs
  • Allies & Morrison (London) with Charcoalblue, Speirs & Major, Harrison Stevens and Buro Happold
  • Barozzi Veiga (Switzerland) with Alan Baxter, Max Fordham, KahleAcoustics, 3DReid and Ian White Associates
  • KPMB Architects (Toronto) with Simpson & Brown Architects, David Narro Associates, Arup, Sound Space Vision, rankinfraser landscape architecture and Transsolar Energietechnik
  • Richard Murphy Architects (Edinburgh) with Arup, Graven Images, GROSS MAX and Montagu Evans


The competition to find the consultant acoustician was by invitation only.

The competition to find the design-led team was run as a 2-stage competition, generally following the OJEU Restricted Notice procedures. 

  • Stage 1 : Expressions of Interest
  • Stage 2 : Invitation to Tender and Interviews

69 teams from across the globe submitted Expressions of Interest.  Each team was scored against the published criteria and six teams were invited to take part in Stage 2.

The shortlisted teams were offered an honorarium to develop their approaches further and asked to attend an interview.

Following interviews, references were taken and the winner was appointed.  

Our involvement

  • Designing the right competitive process
  • Planning the competition timetable and budget to meet client requirements
  • Acting as the point of contact for the competition
  • Promoting the competition
  • Ensuring a clear and ethical process
  • Briefing the jury panel
  • Briefing the competitors
  • Managing the competition process
  • Liaising with solicitors and PR agency
  • Advising on and helping to implement the scoring / evaluation procedures
  • Arranging and facilitating the interviews and presentations
  • Helping create an audit trail
  • Debriefing and follow-up

These images are of the first design ideas that went on public display in March 2018. The building is being designed from the inside out, with a focus on getting a world class acoustic for the main hall as well as creating vibrant and attractive community spaces that will make it a special place for Edinburgh.