by Don Barker
On October 15, 2005, the winner of the United Kingdom's prestigious Stirling Prize was announced. This year the honor went to the new Scottish Parliament, which has been hailed as one of the most innovative designs in Britain today. It is a vastly ambitious and complex building, and to visit it is a hugely rewarding experience: there is so much to take in, so many architectural and metaphorical references, so many technical challenges surmounted.
Early in October, the building received the Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, who described it as a "magnificent achievement" and "a rich array of symbolism."
Yet it is easy to see why the project was beset by public controversy due to budget overruns and scheduling delays. Such a building had simply never been built before.
The Parliament sits at the foot of Edinburgh's Royal Mile in front of Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags. One of the key aspects of the overall design is that it nestles in the landscape rather than sitting high and aloof. Architect Enric Miralles's ambition, which he never deviated from, was to have the building "growing out of the land." >>>
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The public entrance to the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh by Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue of Barcelona and the Scottish firm RMJM.
Photo: © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body - 2005
The debating chamber with its steel and timber space frame overhead.
Photo: Don Barker
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