Saturday, June 21, 2008
IT COULD HAVE BEEN ICONIC
OK here is my reason why the Scottish Parliament, which won awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (they held their award dinner a few hundred yards away & the architect's widow flew in so isn't it lucky that award, not known in advance, went that way) & brickbats from the public, is so deeply naff.
Look at the pole holding up the canopy. The bigger canopy since there are 2 which seems redundant. Now look at the bar holding it up. What is holding the bar up?
The answer is a very thin piece of metal which bends into the supporting strut. So all the weight of the canopy & the thick support bar flows through a very much thinner (1/2" ?) support on the bend where the stress is heaviest. Or to put it another way all that that canopy actually needs is a very thing support these 5 big bars are just there for show.
In fact the canopy could be supported by suspension wires from above which would be much more elegant.
The whole thing is like that overdressed, cluttered with function irrelevant as long as it looks big & yet it doesn't look big it merely looks fussy & overdecorated.
At the time I thought they should have blatantly gone for a skyscraper as high as the top of Edinburgh Castle up the Royal Mile. That would have been impressive & quite deliberately out of keeping with its surroundings, unlike this thing which is merely accidentally out of keeping. Since that would have produced a large amount of office space in the lower flours, which Edinburgh is short of, which could be leased or sold that would have produced a Parliament which made money. Think of how impressive a debating chamber set on the top floors of something more impressive than the gherkin would have been.
They could have hired Richard Rogers or Foster to design something more impressive than the Gherkin but no - Donald Dewar, who wanted to spend £400 million on a monument to himself insisted on getting a Spanish architect, not a particularly good Spanish architect but from a city, Barcelona, which does good architecture.
So we got something bad, & expensive. We got lied to repeatedly by Dewar & the bureaucracy about the cost, which, after enquiries, turned out to be nobody's fault at all. Then the roof fell in. Well actually what happened is that one of the horribly expensive roof beams, which, as with the canopy serves no useful purpose but looks fussy fell off when the glue holding it there failed.
I feel a metaphor for how these numpties run the country coming on.