October 17, 2005
The Scottish Parliament building, designed
by the late Enric Miralles, was awarded the 10th RIBA Stirling
Prize on October 15th. Miralles' widow, Benedetta Tagliabue,
represented their Barcelona-based architectural firm EMBT
and accepted the award from Jack Pringle, the new President
of the Royal Institute of British Architects at an award ceremony
at the Royal Museum, Edinburgh.
The judges praised Miralles' "extraordinary design vision,"
and his interpretation of the role of the Parliament. Pringle
called many of the building's interior spaces "gems,"
particularly the Assembly Hall. He said the Parliament's complex
design, inspired by upturned boats on the beach, successfully
"makes an organic transition between the city and the
drama of the Scottish countryside." The building, which
cost $757 million and was completed in 2004 by joint-venture
architects EMBT and RMJM, also outlived its client, Donald
Dewar, Scotland's First Secretary, who, like Miralles, died
Tagliabue quoted her late husband's approach to architecture
at the European Forum for Architectural Policies, an event
held on October 14th in Glasgow: "Try to leave the place
a little better than you find it
and relate architecture
to people and to the users as much as possible." The
Scottish Parliament truly fulfills Miralles' own criteria.