Gill Taylor thinks the Scottish parliament is a playful masterpiece, but finds no fun in out-of-town toyshops
My wonder is the Scottish parliament. I visited Edinburgh in October and made a special trip to see it. Because it’s at the bottom of a hill you have to get very close before it reveals itself, and when it does you see the quality of the materials. It’s not in the least bit ostentatious, but it has a feeling of solidity and permanence, which is very symbolic for a new parliament.
I was equally impressed by the central debating chamber. It’s very light and open – so different from the House of Commons. Lastly, although it’s all very Scottish, with lots of references inside and out to Scottish history, there’s also an organic and fluid feel to it. I like the interplay between Scottish solidity and the slight wackiness that I think comes from a Spanish architect.
My least favourite is any Toys R Us building anywhere in the world. I’m lucky my children are grown up and I don’t have to go any more. From the outside, they’re cheap, vile, horrible sheds, and you can only access them by car. Inside, they’re the most claustrophobic spaces imaginable and used to make me fell physically sick. The toys are are stacked high to the ceiling, and there’s no natural light. They’re absolutely horrendous, and I don’t know who could have designed such family-unfriendly buildings.
Gill Taylor is the newly appointed chief executive of the Academy for Sustainable Communities