Filmhouse, the home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) in Scotland, has unveiled plans for a major new six-screen cinema and venue in the heart of the city.

The planned building is expected to cost £50 million ($65 million) and has been designed by Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy Architects.

If planning permission is granted by the Edinburgh Council, the venue would address a lack of quality spaces needed by Filmhouse and EIFF in the city for their audiences and industry partners.

However, the size and scale of the planned building, which sits in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre opposite the Usher Hall and near Filmhouse’s existing site, is likely to spark widespread comment.

A pre-planning public consultation phase on the design is set to run from March 11 to June 3, before Filmhouse submits a formal planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council during the summer.

Filmhouse hopes to start work on the building in 2023 with a view to it opening in 2025.

The Filmhouse has been at the centre of Edinburgh’s filmic cultural landscape for more than 40 years, as an arthouse cinema and as home to the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). It also hosts more than 20 other film festivals.

The proposed new Filmhouse will have six new cinema screens. Filmhouse said the venue would have dedicated education spaces, house Filmhouse’s Café Bar, and would create a brand new Festival Centre to support EIFF and other festivals and events.

Filmhouse added that the plans include a new cultural Industries hub as well as a restaurant and rooftop event space.

It explained that the oculus design ‘reflects the eye on the world’ that Filmhouse and EIFF will provide.

Information on the development will be available on the Filmhouse website and at a series of consultation events running in March and April.

Ken Hay, CEO of Centre for the Moving Image (including Filmhouse and Edinburgh International Film Festival), said: “This proposed new building will transform what we’re able to do for Edinburgh’s residents and Scotland’s film community, as well as providing Scotland with a physical celebration of the most popular artform.

“Through doubling the number of screens and seats for regular cinema-goers, creating dedicated education and learning spaces, and developing an iconic festival centre, all within a fully accessible and carbon neutral building, this really is a 21st century temple for film.”

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