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Plans Approved for City Observatory Redevelopment

Edinburgh planners have approved Collective’s proposals to create a new contemporary visual arts space at the City Observatory complex on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. The project will see one of Edinburgh’s most iconic sites saved for future generations, creating a new-build gallery and restaurant and opening this historic site to the public for the first time in its history.

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Collective is working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council to redevelop the City Observatory as our permanent home. The City Observatory sits on Calton Hill, one of Scotland’s first public parks and an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the birthplace of astronomy and timekeeping in Edinburgh and forms a vital component in the group of buildings on Calton Hill which are both architecturally and culturally significant to the history of the city and the nation, and contribute to Edinburgh’s status as the Athens of the North.

The City Observatory was designed by William Henry Playfair in 1818 as a temple to the Enlightenment, scientific innovation and discovery. It is of great architectural importance but requires major investment and conservation as it is in a state of disrepair and on the Buildings at Risk Register. With the City of Edinburgh Council, Collective will conserve and reinstate the original 18th Century Playfair designs, display and interpret the telescopes and astronomical instruments and open the building to the public with education and gathering spaces. The grounds will be restored and a new-build subterranean gallery and restaurant will be created.

Collective have been operating from Calton Hill since early 2014 after restoring the City Dome and opening it as as a gallery showing the work of established and international artists who have not exhibited in Scotland before. This space has attracted huge numbers of visitors to the site, interested in the historic building and its exhibits of contemporary culture. Working with Collective Architecture on this first phase, they have now been appointed to develop and take forward the plans drawn up by Malcolm Fraser Architects, for the rest of the site.

This world-class complex will combine innovative art and iconic heritage, creating a new synergy, for the enjoyment of and benefit to the public and place contemporary art at the heart of one of Edinburgh’s most popular locations. Whilst the majority of funding for this £3.5m project has been raised, Collective is continuing to raise funds in order to start on site early 2016 and aim to open up the entire City Observatory walled complex early 2017.

Collective is in the final stage of fundraising. Partners already supporting the project include: Edinburgh World Heritage, City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Wolfson Foundation and Architectural Heritage Trust.

Fundraising is ongoing. You can help Collective by supporting the capital project or our artistic programme through:
· Making a private donation
· Providing corporate sponsorship

If you would like to help, please email us at [email protected]

To donate by text please text COLL38 £ followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70070. You can give £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.
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