The first major building project of a devolved Scottish Parliament did not set a good example – the new Parliament building designed by Enric Miralles, the Spanish architect who died before its completion, was three years late and came in at over 10 times the original cost. An enquiry by Lord Fraser, critical of the way that costs had increased to £414 million stated that this must never happen again, so what have we had – the Edinburgh Tram and the Dundee outpost of the V&A, both subject to delays and cost increases. Not a good batting rate….
To Miralles’ credit, the internal spaces are architecturally spectacular, even 14 years after the building opened – the debating chamber with its large viewing gallery to encourage transparency of decision making and the ground floor exhibition spaces with the crosses of the Saltire cast into the concrete barrel vaults, popular with residents and visitors alike. It is the exterior that is going to cause problems; already there is scaffolding up in part and, one day, a major refurbishment of the slithery fish-like rooflights is going to be very expensive indeed. The ground floor space held a stunning exhibition in August of award-winning press photography from around the world, with the winning entry being by the Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt.