Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scottish Parliament Building

This building is one of the most difficult structures to capture in photographs ever.  There are so many angles and aspects that it almost stands defiantly against unity.  This article, Scottish_Parliament_Building, discusses its storied and controversial construction in some depth.  It is described as a non-hierarchical, organic collection of low-lying buildings intended to allow views of, and blend in with, the surrounding rugged and symbolise the connection between nature and the Scottish people. As a consequence the building has many features connected to nature and land, such as the leaf shaped motifs of the roof in the Garden Lobby of the building, and the large windows of the debating chamber, committee rooms and the Tower Buildings which face the broad expanse of Holyrood Park, Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags.

I happened to be visiting during some sort of gathering of politicos, many of whom I suspect were MPs. If there is one generalization that can be made about the Scottish, is that they are very hard to define.  Fiercely independent and individualistic throughout their history, it is almost paradoxical to consider a diplomatic forum filled with such a group.  So, it is not surprising that developing a consensus on a project meant to symbolise the people would be frought with conflict, and even casualties, including the architect and its leading political proponent.  I found the interior to be impossibly complex structurally and hard to grasp visually, leading to my final opinion that it is more or less a gigantic cluster f..k. 
The chamber was impressive, but I wouldn't call it beautiful aesthetically.  In reading about the construction, many top contractors were turned off by the project even though it was design/build.  Relentless pressure from all sides you can be sure made managing this job a living hell.  Technically superior, yes.  Aesthetically superior, no. 
You can't not be impressed by it, nonetheless.  For 430 million pounds, it damn well better be impressive if nothing else.

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