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DOES PARLIAMENT DESERVE STIRLING SUCCESS?

LETTERS

The announcement that the Scottish Parliament building had won the Stirling Prize came as no surprise, simply massive disappointment. When will the architectural community remove their heads from the sand and realise that a building that - on its extremely late completion - cost ten times the original budget, should not be celebrated but denounced as inappropriate?

Your magazine carries news items almost weekly in which architects vent their disappointment at having designs turned over to design-and-build teams. But how can any client be expected to allow an architect to oversee a project when examples such as the Scottish Parliament are laid before them in the national press?

I understand that not all of the blame for the building's massive cost can be laid at the architect's feet and, as an architectural journalist myself, I appreciate the nuances and beauty of the structure. I also realise that the prize is intended to honour the building that has made the biggest contribution to British architecture in the past year. But what contribution exactly has this building made? And how is it perceived in the wider community, other than as a catalogue of failures that adds up to £400 million of public money being diverted from needy sectors to create a home for the very characters who are squandering it?

Until architects can be trusted to create designs that will be achievable within budget they will be shut out of the construction process in favour of a project team that can get the job done on time and to cost. The Stirling Prize winner should be a building that has achieved all of its goals - in its design and in its successful realisation within the parameters originally set.

Will Jones, via email

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