New Filmhouse planning application submitted

Plans for landmark cinema hub submitted to Edinburgh Council

by Amber Wilkinson

Artist's impression of how the New Filmhouse will look
Artist's impression of how the New Filmhouse will look Photo: Courtesy of CMI
Edinburgh's Centre for the Moving Image has submitted its planning application for the proposed New Filmhouse in the city's Festival Square following four months of public consultation.

The venue is intended to create a new home for the independent cinema and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

As a result of the consultation process the design by Richard Murphy Architects, has been adjusted to reduce its height and improve access arrangements within the building. More detailed proposals for the successful management of Festival Square as a public space have also been outlined.

The new building is intended to be a "a vibrant and dynamic cultural hub, internationally significant in reputation and reach, whilst being primarily for the people of Edinburgh" according to the Filmhouse press release.

Ken Hay, CEO of CMI, said: “We want the New Filmhouse to be the catalyst that transforms Festival Square so that it becomes a used and exciting public space. This new building itself will generate a lot of life in the Square, and we will design the Square to be welcoming and work collaboratively with our neighbours, the City Council and key cultural partners in managing the use of the Square for the benefit of the people of Edinburgh.

How the Filmhouse will look when viewed from The Usher Hall
How the Filmhouse will look when viewed from The Usher Hall Photo: Courtesy CMI
“As a cultural charity with a strong commitment to the social impact of its work we believe Filmhouse will be a great caretaker of what could become a much more inviting and valued public space. And our commitment to environmental sustainability means that the building will operate on a net zero carbon basis from its first day of opening.”

Sandy Begbie CBE, Chairman of CMI, added: “We believe in the power of film to transform lives – whether watching, making or learning about film. We want the New Filmhouse to be a vibrant and exciting community of film for the people of Edinburgh and Scotland, a place for anyone who loves film to come together in the one space. We want our new home to be inspiring and fully accessible for everyone – physically and emotionally – so whoever you are and wherever you’re from you’ll be welcome and able to access and participate in all that we do.

“Edinburgh is home to internationally recognised landmark museums, galleries, concert halls and theatres – each celebrations of their respective artforms. The New Filmhouse will be a fitting addition to these – a celebration of film, the most popular artform of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

It is projected that the New Filmhouse will attract over 800,000 individual visits each year, and work with more than 200 partners and organisations. It will operate on a net zero carbon basis from its opening day and actively encouraging staff and audiences to utilise low carbon travel options.

A decision on the application is expected by early next summer. If successful, it is hoped that construction may begin in 2023 for completion in 2025.

Comments can be made to the Council through its planning portal between the application going live and late January.

Artist's impression of the new building's interior
Artist's impression of the new building's interior Photo: Courtesy of CMI

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