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Parliament security extension goes ahead despite protests

October 1 2012

Parliament security extension goes ahead despite protests
Controversial plans to build a security extension to the Scottish Parliament are to go ahead next Monday despite a protest organised by a group of former RMJM architects and EMBT.

The group, which includes Miralles wife Benedetta Tagliabue, claim that the plans will ‘destroy the integrity’ of the building and increase the risk posed to visitors.

In their design statement Lee Boyd contend that the facility is ‘respectful of the original architectural intent’ as well as being influenced by the ‘strong lines’ of the surrounding landscape.

Clad in Kemnay granite the £6.5m external security facility is detached from the existing building via a fully glazed corridor which runs parallel to the existing east façade of the Scottish Parliament.

This incorporates bamboo poles and curtain walling to ‘match the existing fenestration’.


Rem Koolbag
#1 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 2 Oct 2012 at 10:54 AM
Scandalous decision. No matter what you may think of the parliament as it stands, it is absolutely unacceptable to substantially alter a national project like this so soon after completion.

It would be very interesting to see the remit of these shadowy security consultants, always un-named, who seem determined to justify their fee (no doubt a good fee at that) by suggesting spurious amendments to layout and fabric of the building.

This decision is useful in highlighting the absolute disregard we as a culture appear to have for architecture and the culture of design.

Also - £6.5m - WTF?

All this is said not in an attack at Lee Boyd, who have taken on a difficult project that was never going to gain them many friends rahter at the decision makers and those in power who seem determined to ruin what should be seen in years to some as a modern masterpiece we should all be proud of.

What will now be done with the entrance as it was? It was a fantastic space to enter the building from...
Ruairidh Moir
#2 Posted by Ruairidh Moir on 2 Oct 2012 at 21:01 PM
Rem Koolbag

Agree entirely - however - EMBT did bid to be part of this process. This could have turned out better than it currently has done.
#3 Posted by Robert on 3 Oct 2012 at 02:01 AM
Scandalous indeed. Mind you that Edinburgh Castle could do with a wee lean-to porch to keep the soldiers dry, so...
Baron Hill
#4 Posted by Baron Hill on 4 Oct 2012 at 16:34 PM
Much as I dislike the incoherent overall design of the Scottish Parliament building, this adds unfortunate clutter to the one facade that looks half decent! Seems a shame - isn't there a better solution? And perhaps some of the money could be used to do something about the waste ground to the south, with 'connects the building to the land' - looks a terrible mess!
Douglas Dalgleish
#5 Posted by Douglas Dalgleish on 8 Oct 2012 at 21:50 PM
This prosaic and inappropriate security structure may have been provoked in part by a poorly informed brief from the client.
If the new security requirement was for a bag search facility separate from the main parliament building, other less visible locations should have been considered.
It would be better to borrow a corner of the existing open-roofed vehicle access area than to obstruct the pedestrian space in front of the parliament.
The Scottish Parliament’s essential form as a nest of boat-like buildings sheltered within a harbour wall is not difficult to understand. The wave-reflected berms extend this maritime metaphor to meet the adjacent hill.
The security extension as proposed offers no sense of fluidity, standing as an awkward perpendicular box obstructing the otherwise unbroken spatial flow from the park through to Abbeyhill.
If there genuinely was no alternative location for the parliament’s new security building, a small boat-like structure would have been a more appropriate element to introduce here. An iconic upturned boat, as if wave-tossed outside the harbour wall could reflect Miralles’ underlying concept and offer a metaphorical expression of the perils facing a small country as it charts a course through this challenging century.
What we are being offered in the building as proposed appears to be the product of a misjudged client brief, a misconceived design, and a profligate misuse of public funds.
One might also conclude that there is a problem with the aesthetic training of planners. Has there been any? Who now can protect ‘our parliament’ from such obvious folly?

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