New Scottish Parliament

World architecture... what's happening generally....

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu May 20, 2004 4:56 pm

after all the bad press about financial over-runs, ineptitude of managers and architects, what have they gone and done....

yes... when you can almost be guaranteed good press from the architecture critics' visit, you ban one of them from attending....

http://scotland.archiseek.com/news/2004/000117.html
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 24, 2004 2:57 pm

Insanely bespoke, positively willful, but potentially glorious: inside the new Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh by Enric Miralles

So the price ticket for Enric Miralles' Scottish Parliament building edges ever closer to the magic half billion pound mark ($895 million), the blame game continues, and 1,000 builders are now swarming all over it, desperate to finish it off in time for Scottish Parliamentarians to move in over the summer, and for the royal opening in October. It will be a very close-run thing. But forget all that, if you can. Great public buildings always go wildly over time and budget. So - now that the place is nine-tenths finished - it's fair to ask: is this building great?

Lots of illustrations:
http://www.hughpearman.com/articles5/scottish_parliament.html
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Postby aland » Mon May 24, 2004 3:17 pm

.............is this building great?

Does the Pope have a balcony?
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 24, 2004 3:18 pm

So are you coming around to it?
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Postby aland » Mon May 24, 2004 3:27 pm

bits of it "worry" me, the front to Holyrood for instance looks at the moment like an 1960s office development, the applied black granite "question marks" are whacky, it's overworked according to my calvanist scottish anal retentive way of thinking but it is also very beautiful particularly in plan and some areas are exceptional.

Shows the new museum of scotland up to be the big boned farmers daughter that it is
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 24, 2004 4:02 pm

I'm going on the pictures in Hugh's piece as when I was there last year, it was a pissy dark grey day. I like it, even though I think that its one of those buildings that you have to experience as opposed to photographs and plans.

Like he says there doesnt seem to be that iconic photograph that can be reproduced infinitum or ad nausem in all the books and magazines.

BTW I'd really like one of those little MSP offices to work in... fill them full of books and they could be really comfortable....
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Postby aland » Mon May 24, 2004 4:09 pm

If you walk up the passage to Salisbury Craggs, you'll see the iconic image. With Calton Hill and the observatory in the background, the Forth sightly to the right and Holyrood.

When it's finished we'll have a walkup and invite some of Edinburgh's heritage police and then they can see what a complete waste of time and energy and money it was to keep Queensberry House .

The view from the passage way is included in Hugh's photographs but unfortunately the landscaping is not yet complete so the building being part of the land does not yet come across, in my view.
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Postby Hugh » Mon May 24, 2004 4:33 pm

I'm hoping they won't bugger up the finishes and landscaping in their dash to finish for the royal opening...

....and it will be a miracle if there aren't some devilish little leaks somewhere in that billowing roofscape.
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Postby aland » Mon May 24, 2004 4:58 pm

the workmanship is astonishing .......so maybe not.

Nothing though would surprise me....... after some bright spark banned a critic who writes like dragging a fork across a plate .............thus giving his views credibility.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 24, 2004 5:05 pm

Workmanship is good or are you being sarky? hard to tell ;)
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Postby aland » Mon May 24, 2004 5:16 pm

Not sarky at all, the debating chamber for instance will be a source of national pride the workmanship and detailing is stunning. In itself will be an iconic image.

You can see in Hugh's photgraphs that even the most overt elements, like the elevation to the msp's rooms are beautifully constructed
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Postby aland » Fri May 28, 2004 9:30 am

http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=605342004

From the sublime to the grotesque.....this building has everything now needed to make it world famous.

Brilliant press............ from the ass kiss to the glasgow kiss
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Postby FIN » Fri May 28, 2004 10:30 am

and my god what a glasgow kiss!!!!
jeez he just went to town altogether.and not only on that but on gaudi's cathedral as well...

"How very telling that Mr Binney should invoke Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona - the Sagrada Familia - for his comparison. For this cathedral (unfinished) is a grotesque. It is over-elaborate, fussy, with ornamentation so gross and the stonework so overworked that to my eyes it is the only building in the world that looks as if it has caught leprosy. "

what sort of an idiot is this person. with absolutely no taste as well. i like both the cathedral and the new parliment. one feels that jealousy is a major problem here
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Postby aland » Fri May 28, 2004 12:23 pm

For someone to write so unequivocally is a good sign that the building will have longevity, though I think he makes some valid points about the applique, hidden underneath the vitriol.

I have heard that some critics were moved close to tears when they saw the debating chamber. Could be they were deeply moved..............or maybe hay fever
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:30 pm

Letter in todays Scotsman..... ;)


Bouquet or brickbat


Now that the Holyrood inquiry is at an end, Bill Jamieson seems to have taken on The Scotsman’s long-vacant role of architecture critic. In his challenging article, "A grotesque insult to Scottish sensibility", he challenges Marcus Binney, of the Times, who has dared to suggest that the new Scottish Parliament will be an architectural triumph.

This is an assessment shared by Jonathan Glancey, of the Guardian, Deyan Sudjic, of the Observer, and many other writers with international reputations. No doubt these architecture critics will be left gasping at Bill Jamieson’s revelation that our parliament will be a "pimps’ pavilion". What on earth is that? Does he have personal knowledge of such structures? Or is he describing a new building type? I think we should know.

MURRAY GRIGOR
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Postby Hugh » Tue Jun 01, 2004 3:24 pm

The matter of cost always damages peoples' critical faculties. You could ask:

1. Is Miralles' Holyrood a good building? If yes, then:

2. Is it a good building for £100m? If yes, then:

3. Is it a good building for £200m?

And so on through to the £500m or whatever it will finally cost.

Is there a point along that line when it ceases to be a good building because it is starting to cost way too much?

Obviously not. The idea is absurd. If it's good, it's good. The cost is a separate issue.

Conversely, if it's bad, then any cost is too high since no building is always better than a bad one. £40m would have been £40m too much.

As for the idea of a pimps' pavilion, I find the idea surreally appealing, for two reasons:

1. If Holyrood is a Pimps' pavilion, then Scottish MPs and civil servants are pimps. Discuss.

2. Given that Holyrood obviously is not a pimps' pavilion, since no such building type exists, then it must be necessary to invent it. Therefore:

Let us have an architectural competition for a pimps' pavilion. Who will consult the users and draw up the brief?
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Postby space_invader » Tue Jun 01, 2004 3:43 pm

Forget the skin, with Holyrood, beauty really is 'gut deep' - unfortunately however, it is not a public building like a museum or art gallery, so the majority of the well-conceived and presented internal spaces will only be available to a select few civil servants and MSP's.

But the intestinal path the guided press tour was dragged along (i was there with all the big guns) did reveal some real high points - the ever-present pallette of concrete, timber, steel and glass, (giving the impression of a fantastically designed film-set, culminating in the space-base-esque internal 'garden', with its sinewey steel and fussy timber clashing in the best possible way with Queensberry house - although bearing in mind what Miralles did with the exisiting structures of Utrecht town Hall, you can only imagine how awesome this space may have been had Scottish heritage not been such shitbags), and the obsession with curves which are explored in 3 rather than simply 2 dimensions - this makes for some gloriously nature-inspired, leaf-like, ceiling-scapes, one in particular looking like a rosebud just hours from unfurling its petals.

The scale of material application externally is woefull - black granite 'curtains' are a major error - they disorientate the eye - a sense of scale is abused - the colour theory is all wrong - the metallic cladding at the roof-wall interface is also inherently wrong from a visual persective - colour choice and scale again do nothing but jar.

The public gallery/entrace – dim, low but strangley appealing, like the bowels of a castle, where you meet before launching your covert attack on the King….

The debating chamber - hideously overated: at this stage anyway - perhaps with people in and all finishes applied but now:

cluttered. the handling of the light fitting seems especially cack-handed - the ceiling and roof structure is already very complex - why mess it up with so many lights which appear to have been positioned haphazardly?

Another strange detail: On leaving the debating chambers, the tall, slim concrete columns which drop down another storey - almost bonelike in appearance and certainly a reference to the sagrada familia - well, they are actually steel, wrapped in concrete. I realise the building is not necessarily about the 'nature of materials' etc. but this seemed strange to me.

Willful?

Despite overuse in reviews, holyrood is exactly that.

But it's need to be - to get by all the naysayers who'd have banned the whole project.

anyway....msp's block - isn't this just cardross seminary. with bells on?

beautifully executed - with the exception of the poorly cantilevered stair well (done to increase office-space footprint on the plan presumably), which looks like it might fall of the block any minute, and clearly wasn't designed to be where it is now - really - it's looks naff)

the msp block is finished to perfection however - real craft on show, and it is kinda lovely - but perhaps too scuptural and fixed for today’s supposedly hot-desking environment - but perhaps, on the other hand, this inflexibility will provide a key for the whole development –

you know, in a ‘Just get on with governing Scotland in an imaginative manner and stop moaning about your room size’ kinda way.
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Postby space_invader » Tue Jun 01, 2004 3:52 pm

Forget the skin, with Holyrood, beauty really is 'gut deep' - unfortunately however, it is not a public building like a museum or art gallery, so the majority of the well-conceived and presented internal spaces will only be available to a select few civil servants and MSP's.

But the intestinal path the guided press tour was dragged along (i was there with all the big guns) did reveal some real high points - the ever-present pallette of concrete, timber, steel and glass, (giving the impression of a fantastically designed film-set, culminating in the space-base-esque internal 'garden', with its sinewey steel and fussy timber clashing in the best possible way with Queensberry house - although bearing in mind what Miralles did with the exisiting structures of Utrecht town Hall, you can only imagine how awesome this space may have been had Scottish heritage not been such shitbags), and the obsession with curves which are explored in 3 rather than simply 2 dimensions - this makes for some gloriously nature-inspired, leaf-like, ceiling-scapes, one in particular looking like a rosebud just hours from unfurling its petals.

The scale of material application externally is woefull - black granite 'curtains' are a major error - they disorientate the eye - a sense of scale is abused - the colour theory is all wrong - the metallic cladding at the roof-wall interface is also inherently wrong from a visual persective - colour choice and scale again do nothing but jar.

The public gallery/entrace – dim, low but strangley appealing, like the bowels of a castle, where you meet before launching your covert attack on the King….

The debating chamber - hideously overated: at this stage anyway - perhaps with people in and all finishes applied but now:

cluttered. the handling of the light fitting seems especially cack-handed - the ceiling and roof structure is already very complex - why mess it up with so many lights which appear to have been positioned haphazardly?

Another strange detail: On leaving the debating chambers, the tall, slim concrete columns which drop down another storey - almost bonelike in appearance and certainly a reference to the sagrada familia - well, they are actually steel, wrapped in concrete. I realise the building is not necessarily about the 'nature of materials' etc. but this seemed strange to me.

Willful?

Despite overuse in reviews, holyrood is exactly that.

But it's need to be - to get by all the naysayers who'd have banned the whole project.

anyway....msp's block - isn't this just cardross seminary. with bells on?

beautifully executed - with the exception of the poorly cantilevered stair well (done to increase office-space footprint on the plan presumably), which looks like it might fall of the block any minute, and clearly wasn't designed to be where it is now - really - it's looks naff)

the msp block is finished to perfection however - real craft on show, and it is kinda lovely - but perhaps too scuptural and fixed for today’s supposedly hot-desking environment - but perhaps, on the other hand, this inflexibility will provide a key for the whole development –

you know, in a ‘Just get on with governing Scotland in an imaginative manner and stop moaning about your room size’ kinda way.
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Postby FIN » Tue Jun 01, 2004 3:53 pm

very well said. perhaps u should write to the scotsman.
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Postby space_invader » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:06 pm

Ta Fin, but that newspaper is just full of press releases.

although they do give more scottish architectural coverage than any other newspaper.

A bit of backgound:

from the off, The Scotsman has been opposed to the Scottish Parliament on every level; political, contractual, aesthetic.

The review was to be expected.

Also as AlanD has suggested: debate will be provoked: the building's external ugliness, coupled with the inquisitive Fraser inquiry may in fact have a valuable knock on effect for the public - it may help them to engage with modern architecture in a more meaningful, thoughful manner beyond, simply, it's elevational design.

you know, the: 'but it disnae fit in' patter so common in the UK.

And the sooner we forget the cost the better - it's always meaningless in political/cultural arguments - Iraqi war - so far how many billion? and what have we got for our money exactly? - there - case closed.

If anything, going on about the cost has just consolidated the (mistaken) world view that Scots are mean penny-pinchers.

And jaimeson's obviously out of touch wuth modern scotland - his review makes us all sound like Jogn Knox or worse:

Scrooge McDuck!
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Postby FIN » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:17 pm

lol.
if it does spark that debate and interest in modern architecture happy days, even though with the art gallery thingy and now this and with the pleasing architecture springing up in glasgow and dundee it seems to me that ye have a healty appreciation for the built arts already.
the old joke about how copperwire was invented seems to be put in your past. :-)
and as hugh said, no matter what, if the building works it is worth the money
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Postby aland » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:44 pm

Don't you all think that strong even vitriolic opinion is a healthy thing in architecture? This is a building that people should have views about, surely. Good and bad?

At last a building in Auld Reekie that does'nt milk it's historic surroundings to give it presence or indeed ape the past

"Pimps pavilion"?....guess that'll demand some fieldwork
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:54 pm

Originally posted by aland
Don't you all think that strong even vitriolic opinion is a healthy thing in architecture? This is a building that people should have views about, surely. Good and bad?


absolutely, the worst thing you can say about any design, whether a building, a logo, a chair is nothing....
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Postby FIN » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:56 pm

no doubt but general attacks on it, the designer and the designers influences kinda goes over the top
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Postby phil » Mon Jul 19, 2004 10:34 am

Did anyone see the piece about this on Channel 4 News last on Sunday evening? I was quite impressed I have to say. Looks like it is going to be very impressive when it is finished.
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