Putting on a show

Edinburgh is a city bursting with creativity. It has a vibrant programme of artistic performances throughout the year, culminating every summer in the world’s biggest arts festival.  Despite this, the city lacks a purpose-designed, mid-sized venue which can provide a world-class acoustic experience and act as a hub for all kinds of performance – from orchestral music to jazz and folk, from dance to the spoken word.

All this is set to change with the development of Dunard Centre, Edinburgh’s first dedicated new space for music and the performing arts in 100 years.


new town impact centre

In the heart of Edinburgh

Dunard Centre will sit behind Dundas House, 36 St Andrew Square, the beautiful 1774 home of Sir Lawrence Dundas which became part of the Royal Bank of Scotland estate in 1825. The banking hall, recognised as an architectural jewel, will be directly linked to the complex, bringing together in a breathtaking way the best of architectural design, both historic and contemporary.

The Centre will make a striking contribution to the revitalisation of the city centre.  It will create a dynamic new city space, part of the major regeneration of the area, linking the New Town with the St James redevelopment, Multrees Walk and the Register Lanes area.




Time to perform

Dunard Centre will meet the much-recognised need for a mid-sized hall in Edinburgh offering the very best acoustics, comfortable seating and uninterrupted sight lines. 

It will attract to Edinburgh top international performers, create a performance space for local and national groups and provide an inspiring venue for future generations of performers and audiences.  Through partnerships, creative programming and community outreach, it will engage and encourage the participation of people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

Edinburgh at the forefront

The Edinburgh Festivals generate over £313 million for the Scottish economy, creating the equivalent of 5,000 full-time jobs.  By harnessing the very latest developments in technology, in a welcoming and sympathetically designed environment, Dunard Centre will strengthen Edinburgh’s position as an international festival city and provide year-round cultural opportunities for the city's residents and its many visitors.

Attracting national support

IMPACT Scotland’s plans to create Edinburgh’s first new venue for music and the performing arts have secured funding from across the UK.  £25 million has been committed through the Edinburgh City Region Deal, demonstrating the support of both Scottish and UK Governments and the City of Edinburgh Council. Dunard Fund, an Edinburgh-based charitable trust which promotes excellence in the arts, is also a founding funder. A campaign is underway to raise £15 million from trusts, companies and individual philanthropic donations to complete the funding.

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The Design Team

In April 2017, David Chipperfield Architects were appointed to design the Dunard Centre. Sir David Chipperfield leads a world-renowned practice responsible for such outstanding projects as Hepworth Wakefield and the Neues Museum in Berlin as well as many others worldwide.

The acoustic consultancy Nagata Acoustics has been contracted to ensure that the auditorium has a flawless acoustic. Its principal consultant Dr Yasuhisa Toyota has been chief acoustician for over 50 projects worldwide, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.  This is the first venue in the UK for which Dr Toyota has designed.


Dunard Centre will sit behind Dundas House, 36 St Andrew Square, the 1774 home of Sir Lawrence Dundas.

The site had been intended for a major public building in James Craig’s plan for the New Town, but was acquired by Sir Lawrence, an influential political figure, for his own use. The house became the Excise Office in 1794, at which point the Royal Arms were added to the pediment above the entrance.  In 1825 it was bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Its conversion to the Bank's head office was designed by Archibald Elliot, with later internal alterations by William Burn.  The domed banking hall, designed by John Dick Peddie, was added in 1857.

The architectural concept for a music performance venue at 36 St Andrew Square was initially proposed to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra by Edinburgh architect Simon Laird in 2011.  The realisation of a public building on this site completes the original intention of the New Town plan, some 250 years after the house was first constructed.

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Dunard Centre

The Dunard Centre is perfectly located in the heart of the city with excellent transport links.  It is a few minutes' walk from Waverley station and St Andrew Square bus station.  There is a tram stop right in front of 36 St Andrew Square, behind which sits Dunard Centre. Pedestrians can approach from four directions and, in the neighbouring area, there is an abundance of restaurants and other meeting places.

Explore this map to see the transport links and the location of other performance venues in the city.


Edinburgh Waverley Station

Edinburgh Waverley is the principal station serving Edinburgh and is just a short 5 minute walk away from the site of Dunard Centre.


St Andrew Square Tram Stop

Running from Edinburgh Airport, through Princes Street and ending at York Place in the New Town, the Edinburgh Tram line has a convenient stop at St Andrew Square, right outside the site of Dunard Centre.


The Queen's Hall

Former chapel, now a 900 capacity venue for classical and jazz concerts and occasional rock gigs.


Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh Playhouse is a former cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland which now hosts touring musicals and music concerts.


The Usher Hall

The Usher Hall is a concert hall that has hosted concerts and events since its construction in 1914 and can hold approximately 2,200 people in its recently restored auditorium.


St Andrew Square Bus Station

A short 2 minute walk from Dunard Centre; all long-distance bus and coach services leave from, and arrive in Edinburgh at St. Andrew Square bus station.