Building gives its architectural review of the new Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood


Miralles’ Magnificent Mess

The collective gaze of the British Isles will be focused north of the border next week, as Scotland heads to the polls to decide whether it will remain a part of the UK or not. The debate surrounding the potential break-up has placed increased attention on the Scottish Parliament and its Holyrood HQ - a building that caused a considerable stir itself while being built. After a string of delays, the Enric Miralles-designed building opened in October 2004, having cost £414m to build - 10 times its original projected cost. Putting aside the problems that plagued its construction, the Building team ran a cover feature on 17 September 2004 focused purely on the building’s architectural merits, branding it: “An architectural masterpiece. And also, it has to be said, an architectural mess.” Continuing the review, architectural editor Martin Spring wrote: “Being the centre of government, the parliament building is Scotland’s most important building. No doubt only a tiny proportion of the nation’s 5 million inhabitants will actually visit it, but all have the right to expect some instantly recognisable icon of their national democracy - the Scottish answer to Big Ben. The debating chamber and the MSP’s lobby provide just such iconic images, but there is none on the building’s exterior.”