Today, wHY Architecture was named the winner of the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition for their plans to revitalize Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, a public park that lies below the imposing outline of Edinburgh Castle. The winning proposal by the U.S.-based firm includes concept designs for a new pavilion, a visitor center and café, and improvements to the park itself, from gracefully arcing walkways and expansive green spaces to increased street accessibility. The design team’s goal was to activate “four layers of meaning within the Gardens: botanical, civic, commemorative and cultural.”

WHY, which recently transformed a Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Los Angeles into the home of the Marciano Art Foundation, was also selected for the respect demonstrated towards the site’s history and geology. Their design embeds a new “butterfly” pavilion and visitor center into the landscape so that the famed Edinburgh Castle will remain the primary visual focus of the area. In a statement released by the jury, which included City of Edinburgh Council CEO Andrew Kerr and Edinburgh World Heritage director Adam Wilkinson, they asserted that wHY’s designs “complemented, but did not compete with, the skyline of the City and the Castle.”

The other finalists for the Ross Pavilion Competition were:

  • Adjaye Associates
  • Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Flanagan Lawrence
  • Page \ Park Architects, West 8 Landscape Architects and BuroHappold Engineering
  • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
  • William Matthews Associates , and Sou Fujimoto Architects

All six shortlisted designs were exhibited at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre until July 31st, and can be viewed online here, along with wHY’s winning submission. Construction on the park is set to begin in 2018.