So in the end it was indeed a shoo-in for Miralles. Sunday Times report below.
The tenth RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture, worth Â£20,000, has been won by the controversial Â£430m Scottish Parliament building, it was announced in Edinburgh on Saturday night.
Although applauded by architecture buffs for its uncompromisingly sculptural, hand-crafted style, the building - designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles, who died during its construction - has polarised opinion in Scotland. The Parliament went ten times over its original wildly over-optimistic budget and is seen by many as a waste of public money.
A wilful, poetic piece of architecture in which there is scarcely a straight line or a right-angle to be found, the Scottish Parliament sits at the foot of Edinburgh's "Royal Mile" near the royal palace of Holyrood House. It is meant to evoke the Scottish landscape and is decorated with mysterious shapes and symbols.
The buildiing has been doubly unlucky for those most closely involved in it. Not only did its architect die unexpectedly while it was being built, but so did the man who authorised it - the late First Minister Donald Dewar.
Many at the Stirling Prize ceremony at the Museum of Scotland were dismayed that the prize had not gone to the celebrated Zaha Hadid for her Â£34m BMW factory in Leipzig - a highly theatrical building where an assembly line of part-assembled cars crosses the office atrium on a bridge.
A rival but very different car plant - McLaren Technolgies in Woking, home of the McLaren Formula 1 racing team, designed by Foster and Partners, costing well over Â£100m - was also shortlisted. Foster has won the Stirling Prize twice previously - including last year for his "Gherkin" office tower in the City of London.
A favourite at the bookies was Brighton's new Â£14m Jubilee Library by Bennetts Associates with Lomax Cassidy and Edwards. This is a noble new civic building that - a first for the Stirling Prize - emerged from the Government's Private Finance Initiative, often criticised for leading to uninteresting designs.
A previous Stirling winner, Will Alsop, was shortlisted for a highly imaginative nursery school in North London, the Â£2.3m Fawood Children's Centre.
But most disappointed was the phalanx of architects and critics lined up behind the Â£7m Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork, Ireland, by architects Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey. This magical timber-clad tree-house of a university art gallery, designed to sit in an existing park, is widely regarded as being pure, almost perfect architecture. Since O'Donnell and Tuomey used to work in London for the late Sir James Stirling, after whom the Prize is named, this would have been a popular winner. "There is a lot of Stirling in this building," said architect Piers Gough, one of the judges. Another, the veteran arts journalist Joan Bakewell, added: "There's something that's aesthetically satisfying from almost any point of view."
But in the end, politics won the day. In Edinburgh, the prize went to an Edinburgh building over which arguments continue to rage, and whose authors are both dead.