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The Redevelopment of Saint Cecilia's Hall

St Cecilia's Hall is the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. It was built around 1760 and it is listed as a Heritage Category A building.

The redevelopment project, completed in March 2017, was designed to improve the hall’s concert facilities and transform it into a teaching centre and a museum for exhibiting the university’s precious collection of historic musical instruments.

The project entrusted to Page Park Architects, arose from the University of Edinburgh’s desire to enhance the concert hall’s functionality, while also emphasizing its beauty and expanding and renovating its gallery spaces. As such, the project involved updating the building’s amenities, including the heating, lighting and air conditioning, refurbishing the Concert Room by improving both the seating layout and the acoustics, making repairs to the roof and the building’s external shell, and facilitating access, especially for the disabled.

A new L-shaped extension was also designed by Page Park Architects who envisaged it embracing the hall as a young musician embraces a musical instrument. The bronze motifs on the façade were also inspired by the hall’s collection, more specifically, by the highly decorated soundboard of a 1725 Francis Coston double-manual harpsichord.

The lighting system was designed to meet two goals: guaranteeing functionality and safety for visitors and providing comfortable light allowing full enjoyment of the concerts and of the musical instruments on display. A colour temperature of 3000 K is used throughout and the lighting scheme is almost entirely created by Laser Blade and Underscore luminaires with different profiles. Inside the Concert Room, Laser Blade luminaires provide general lighting to both sides of the space integrating with the natural light that floods in from the central dome. Pixel Pro luminaires are used to highlight the area where the musicians sit, and Underscore 6 devices have been mounted behind the seats and along the perimeters to emphasize the elliptical shape of the space. The other areas of the building, particularly the double-height area – like the main entrance – feature a high-contrast version of the Laser Blade luminaires which provide general lighting. Inside the gallery, where the collection’s historic harpsichords are held, Palco spotlights highlight the instruments, while Underscore devices outline the structures they are displayed on. As to the remainder of the space, Underscore15/18 luminaires have been used to emphasize the layout of the spaces and highlight the architectural details designed by Page Park.

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  • Year
  • Client
    University of Edinburgh
  • Architectural project:
    Page\Park Architects
  • Lighting project:
    Harley Haddow
  • Structural engineering:
    David Narro Associates
  • Photographer
    Jim Stephenson

Project Quote

"‘The collaborative working between the team including the main contractor and suppliers, and a buy-in from all to the architectural vision of building as a charged container for the collection, has led to successful delivery of the music museum and concert room. iGuzzini went above and beyond to support the design team throughout the design and construction phase, to delivery of a lighting strategy that is in tune with the architecture."

Page\Park Architectes

Products Used: