Project Profile

Edinburgh’s landmark millennium project

In central Edinburgh, a sharp cliff face rises high and punches into the sky. Salisbury Crags juts out of the city’s ancient volcano and looms over the city like a grand fortress. On its rugged, rocky surface, you can see the earth’s very history immortalised in stone. Geological layers tell tales of ice ages, volcanic eruptions and tectonic plates. It was here that James Hutton, the father of modern geology, developed his Theory of the Earth – the timeline of British geology that forever changed our understanding of the world.

This backdrop provided the inspiration for Our Dynamic Earth, Britain’s first big-ticket millennium project and Scotland’s go-to science centre. Housed in Michael Hopkins’s iconic building at the end of the Royal Mile, it is a statement attraction that continues to play an important role on the city’s tourist trail.

We worked with the museum team to create Our Dynamic Earth’s visitor experience – an experiential immersive journey through time. Using material from the BBC’s Natural History archives and National Geographic’s collections, we created a series of multimedia environments that explore our world through time.

The journey starts with a time machine that takes you back to the beginnings of our universe. Here, you witness the explosion of stars. Next up, the movement of the Earth’s crust. Cinder cones spew smoke and sulphur, the temperature begins to rise and the ground shakes as a volcano explodes, sending lava shooting beneath your feet.

Move into the habitat zone to see aquatic life through the portholes of a submarine and stand in a replica rainforest complete with a mangrove swamp, flowing river and torrential rainstorm effects. Highlights include the Polar gallery, where the temperature drops and you can touch an iceberg protruding in the middle of the room, and the planetarium, complete with a commissioned symphonic soundtrack.

Dynamic Earth attraction, 4,500 million years in the making, delivered on time, on budget, and to a world class standard.

Julia Fawcett, CEO, Our Dynamic Earth




Graham English & Company


Michael Hopkins