Scottish Parliament – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT – Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT – Edinburgh

It was a long and difficult journey for the
creation of the Scottish Parliament. Scotland had its own parliament until it came
under English rule 300 years ago, but the parliament reorganized in 1997 and an international
design competition was held with the Spanish architect Enric Miralles selected in 1998. The project was designed by his firm Miralles
Tagliabue EMBT as well as the Scottish firm RMJM. Sadly, Miralles died from a brain tumor before
the project was completed in 2004, so the design was then led by his partner Benedetta
Tagliabue. High expectations, the unusual design and
increasing construction costs made the process more complicated and more controversial. This design was conceived to blend elements
of the Scottish landscape, people and culture, and won the competition for the way it combined
existing elements with new technologies. Viewed from above, berms extend into the landscape,
and tie it to the site and Arthur’s Seat beyond. Tapping into deeper cultural references, the
building has elements that resemble scattered leaves, upturned boats, floral patterns and
Saltine, the Scottish cross seen in the lobby ceiling vaults. The building houses 129 parliament members
and about 1,000 staff members. An office block on the west side of the site
connects to the medieval city with unique spaces for each member to reflect on their
decisions. The debating chamber is the centerpiece of
the project. In stark contrast to the English Parliament
where opposing sides face each other, the curved amphitheater seating is covered with
elaborately detailed wood and steel trusses. You can sense the architect’s emotional
force here with the attention to every detail encouraging the visitor to touch the building. The building is located in central Edinburgh
about a 14 minute walk from the Waverley train station at the east end of what is known as
the Royal Mile. Sign up online for an informative tour where
you’ll get to see much of the interior including the debating chamber. About 15 minutes walk from the parliament
is The Devil’s Advocate at number 9 Advocate’s Close just down these steps from High Street. The atmosphere and food is great and why not
try a flight of Scotch whisky while you are here. Enjoy your visit to Edinburgh and the Scottish


  1. This building is possibly the ugliest in Great Britain. It is a total mess. Every angle, every view is confused and vulgar.

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