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Galaxy of stars line up to design Scottish parliament

Many of the world's most famous architects have entered the Scottish parliament building competition, though the highest-profile British ones have snubbed it.

The 70 applications filed by Monday's deadline included Richard Meier & Partners with Keppie Design; Aldo Van Eyck; Rafael Vinoly Architects; Enric Miralles Y Moya; and ABK, which has joined forces with Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner. Richard Rogers Partnership, Foster and Partners and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners did not enter.

Other Brits who entered include Sir Denys Lasdun with Hurley, Robertson and Associates; Terry Farrell; Michael Hopkins and Partners; Alsop & Stormer; Edward Cullinan Architects with Morris and Steadman; Michael Wilford and Partners; John McAslan & Partners; MacCormac Jamieson Prichard; and Pringle Richards Sharratt.

Koetter, Kim & Associates (UK) has also thrown its hat into the ring, as well as 30 Scottish practices including Richard Murphy with Law and Dunbar-Naismith; Reiach and Hall Architects; RMJM and the Parr Partnership.

Entries came from Holland, Germany, France, Greece, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand and Poland. Many hopefuls have already designed parliament buildings or offices: Peter Kulka in Dresden, Pi de Bruijn in The Hague, Alsop & Stormer in Marseille and Sir Michael Hopkins opposite Big Ben.

Some of the major practices that did not enter were repor ted to be 'overworked'. One of the entrants, who refused to be named, was unimpressed: 'It is amusing that they are too busy to do a national parliament building: the arrogance of it is incredible.'

Sebastian Tombs, secretary and treasurer at the RIAS, said: 'I would have thought a £50 million project of such national importance would have been of some interest to a wide range of designers.' But he said the size and complexity of the building, the £5 million indemnity cover needed and the tight building schedule were potentially offputting.

David Page from Page & Park Architects, which did enter, said: 'It is not just about a building. Anybody who believes in Scottish devolution should be welcomed into the competition and help tackle the issues.'

The 70 applicants will be cut to 12 by the end of the month. A shortlist of three or four will then be made by competitive interview and the winner will be announced in July. The building should open in autumn 2001.

Ron Arad Associates and Caruso St John Architects are to design two big exhibitions for Glasgow 1999: UK City of Architecture and Design. Ron Arad's space will be called 'Winning', a design and sport exhibition at the McLellan Galleries in January 1999. Caruso St John Architects will design 'Vertigo', looking at dynamic new buildings.

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