Home > B. The Living Artifact, L. Visionary Art > The New Scottish Parliament Buildings

The New Scottish Parliament Buildings

I ran across a review of the new Scottish parliament buildings (completed, 2004) recently and was captivated by their energy and sense of adventure. The complex represents a radical departure from the classical architecture that characterizes Edinburgh’s New Town; these buildings bring an eruption of organic forms to the strict formality that surrounds them.

Designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles, the complex offers not only a riot of architectural grammar but also a wealth of materials: stone, laminated glass panels, laminated oak beams, flowing, graceful stainless-steel connectors, and heavy concrete. When Members of the Scottish Parliament enter the debating chamber, they pass under the Arniston Stone, which was part of Scotland’s pre-1707 Parliament building. The debating chamber itself is not designed to strictly separate opposing parties, in the hopes of encouraging compromise and statesmanship; as if that were not enough, the complex was built on a brownfield site close to public transportation.

Public reaction to the new parliament buildings has been mixed; the complexity, abstract forms, and artistic ambitions of the site plan have left some people dubious about the finished product. I have a sneaking suspicion, on the other hand, that we are dealing with a new architectural landmark.    RT


Photos: Top: Commitee room, Tower Buildings; WikiCmns; Russ McGinn; Public Domain. Middle: Scottish Parliament Complex; WikiCmns; Ubernerd42; Public Domain. Bottom: Garden Lobby; WikiCmns; GlobalTraveler; U.S. Fair Use.

  1. M
    March 13, 2012 at 6:43 am

    wow, i love the top image…

    • March 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      M: it’s my favorite image, too; not only is it beautiful, but it also gives an idea of the architect’s overall approach… RT

  1. December 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

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