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Architect chosen to design Scottish Parliament

06/07/1998

One of the world's most exciting contemporary architects has been chosen to design Scotland's new Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh.

Enric Miralles from Barcelona, who will work in close partnership with Edinburgh based RMJM (Scotland) Ltd, has been chosen after a rigorous selection process that started in January and attracted applications from 70 of the world's leading architectural practices from Europe and as far afield as America and Australia.

Miralles has won architectural prizes and competitions throughout Europe, is a visiting professor at universities in North and South America and Europe and recently won particular praise within the architectural community for his innovative designs for buildings at the Barcelona Olympics. RMJM (Scotland) Ltd have developed an international reputation in their own right after recent work in Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Petersburg.

Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar, who chaired the six person selection panel said: "Enric Miralles is one of the world's most exciting and well respected architects. He impressed the panel with his energy, imagination and creative approach to designing a Parliament building within the World Heritage site at Holyrood. The panel liked the sensitivity and scale of his initial ideas which provide a blueprint for an exciting new building at the foot of the Royal Mile that sits well with the spectacular backdrop of Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags.

"Mr Miralles demonstrated great enthusiasm for the project. He is planning to postpone many of his international commitments and base himself in Edinburgh during the further design and construction stage of the Parliament building.

"The panel were also impressed with Mr Miralles track record of translating innovative designs into practical buildings that work as demonstrated in his internationally acclaimed work in Barcelona, Alicante and Utrecht. The association with RMJM (Scotland) Ltd will ensure that a Scottish perspective is maintained in developing the initial design ideas into a building that is both aesthetically pleasing and a functional working environment for Scotland's Parliament.

"The next stage of the process will involve Mr Miralles and RMJM working up the outline concepts into detailed designs for the Scottish Parliament. We expect to hold a further public exhibition as the designs develop in October/November."

BACKGROUND

1. The members of the design panel were the Rt Hon Donald Dewar MP ( Secretary of State for Scotland), Dr John Gibbons ( The Scottish Office's Chief Architect) , Professor Andy McMillan ( Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow), Robert Gordon ( Head of Scottish Office Constitution Group), Joan O'Connor ( past president of the Royal Institute of the Architects in Ireland) and Kirsty Wark ( BBC presenter and journalist).

2. The outline timetable for construction of the building is: design team appointed (early July 1998); outline proposals presented (second half of 1998); detailed design approved (spring 1999); construction commences ( summer 1999) , building completed (second half of 2001).

3. Enric Miralles set up his practice in Barcelona in 1984. He has won many architectural prizes and competitions throughout Europe including the Madrid City Prize in 1993, the National Prize of Spanish Architecture in 1995 and the Golden Lion at the Biennial of Venice in 1996. He is an invited Professor at several universities in North and South America and Europe. His recent designs include the Olympic Archery Pavilions, Vall D'Hebron, Barcelona, the Civic Centre of Hostalets, Spain, the sports halls in Alicante and Huesca and the new town hall for Utrecht, Holland.

4. RMJM has, during its 40 years in Edinburgh, grown into an international practice and has produced many large scale, high profile projects including the new Scottish Office building in Leith. The work of the practice ranges from detailed conservation projects to modern designs such as its work to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. RMJM has advised UNESCO on conservation work to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

News Release: 1389/98
6 July 1998