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And finally? hooray for Holyrood


RMJM and the Scottish authorities finally felt ready this week to open Enric Miralles'parliament building to the press for the first time. The project - which has been mired in controversy since its inception - is scheduled to complete in October this year following years of delays and cost over-runs.

It has become repeatedly embroiled in a series of bitter disputes about its cost - originally estimated at £40 million - which has now reached £431 million and is currently the subject of a Public Inquiry led by former Tory minister Lord Fraser.

The 1.6ha Holyrood site lies at the foot of Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile, next to the Royal Palace of Holyrood House, and sits in the heart of the medieval Old Town.

The design and construction process for the proposed building was started at the beginning of 1998, after controversy over the chosen site. When complete, it will provide accommodation for the 105 Members of the Scottish Parliament, including a 15m 2office each with space outside for two members of staff.

It will also include a horseshoe-shaped debating chamber, committee rooms, facilities for the public and administrative offices.

The present project architect for the scheme, Benedetta Tagliabue - the widow of Enric Miralles - has remained unmoved by the tidal wave of criticism, predicting that the project will become an icon once the current controversy is forgotten.

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