Well Diaspora, sounds like your visit to Edinburgh can't come soon enough..! I really can't see where youre coming from here-
"It is more reminiscent of a cluster of preserved and unrelated vernacular streetscapes."
Visited the site just two weeks ago and whats emerging is quite monolithic (in a good way!) with a number of large clefts allowing views right into the heart of the complex (and ot the intricate roof structure covering the foyer.). It's most impressive however from further out in Holyrood park where you get to see how the building will eventually spill out into the landscape, becoming part of a larger and quite stunning panorama.
I guess it's easier for me to see how things are going to turn out as I was priveleged enough to attend a lecture and workshop from Miralles not long before he passed away. There he explained clearly, yet poetically, his intentions for the site and how the building was to become a sort of pivot in the city, marking the point where urbanism dissolves to become the natural landscape. I only hope that the finished product hasn't strayed too far from what Miralles intended, although to my eyes it's looking pretty faithful. I'm convinced it will be a masterpiece and that Miralles, however his reputation is being abused now, will be recognised for his contribution to the city. Again, reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House story, where Utzon had his reputation ruined by scheming politicians, effectively thrown off the job for his "unconventional practices". It was precisely the lack of convention present in the architecture of Utzon and now in the case of Miralles that led and will lead to a great building.