Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament Building (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Pairlament Biggin) is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Edinburgh. Construction of the building commenced in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) held their first debate in the new building on 7 September 2004. The formal opening by Queen Elizabeth took place on 9 October 2004. Enric Miralles, the Catalan architect who designed the building, died before its completion.

From 1999 until the opening of the new building in 2004, committee rooms and the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament were housed in the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland located on The Mound in Edinburgh. The access to this facility was via a new glazed porch, discreetly placed in the SW corner of Mylne's Court off the Lawnmarket in the midst of some of the University of Edinburgh's Hall of Residences. All traces of this porch were eradicated, and the west wall where it stood returned to a blank wall, immediately after the new parliament opened. Office and administrative accommodation in support of the Parliament were provided in buildings leased from the City of Edinburgh Council. The new Scottish Parliament Building brought together these different elements into one purpose-built parliamentary complex, housing 129 MSPs and more than 1,000 staff and civil servants.

From the outset, the building and its construction have been controversial. The choices of location, architect, design, use of non-indigenous materials (granite from China instead of Scotland), and construction company were all criticised by politicians, the media and the Scottish public. Scheduled to open in 2001, it did so in 2004, more than three years late with an estimated final cost of £414 million, many times higher than initial estimates of between £10m and £40m. A major public inquiry into the handling of the construction, chaired by the former Lord Advocate, Peter Fraser, was established in 2003. The inquiry concluded in September 2004 and criticised the management of the whole project from the realisation of cost increases down to the way in which major design changes were implemented. Despite these criticisms and a mixed public reaction, the building was welcomed by architectural academics and critics. The building aims to conceive a poetic union between the Scottish landscape, its people, its culture, and the city of Edinburgh. This approach won the parliament building numerous awards including the 2005 Stirling Prize and has been described as "a tour de force of arts and crafts and quality without parallel in the last 100 years of British architecture".

Read more about Scottish Parliament BuildingLocation, Project History, Parliamentary Complex, Critical Response, Fraser Inquiry

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