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TAGLIABUE - I'D DO IT ALL AGAIN

STIRLING

Just moments after the winner of Stirling 2005 was announced, Ed Dorrell cornered Benedetta Tagliabue, the other half of Enric Miralles'practice EMBT, for a chat.

She was in ebullient form.

First things first. How did you feel when you won?

Very, very excited - I could not believe it. When I was approaching the night, I thought I'd be able to control myself but I discovered that I couldn't control my feelings.

My eyes filled up and then my mouth started wobbling.

I was so pleased when it was announced that we had won.

You must have been very happy for the memory of your late husband, Enric Miralles?

This was very much his building so yes, I was happy that it won for him.

What did you think of the other shortlisted contenders? Did you think you were the favourite to win?

I didn't know all of them but I looked at them this evening and I thought they were all brilliant.

But I decided not to think about the others and whether they might win.

When you come to Edinburgh, do you always go to look at the Scottish Parliament? What emotions does it stir in you?

I think it's a great building and yes, I do always go to have a look at it. It makes me very happy. I was there this afternoon with a group of Catalonian architects and they thought it was great too. It was a very nice afternoon watching them enjoy the building. I know they will have been watching the programme this evening with great interest.

Are you completely pleased with the finished building? Is it really worth the £440 million it cost?

The building is definitely worth it. It gives an image of Scotland to the rest of the world and also to the people of Scotland themselves. It has met its brief - to create a building that will be looked at for centuries.

And people around the world are looking at it. I know there are other governments who say they want to get a parliament like the one in Edinburgh.

So do you feel vindicated?

People have to recognise what this building is. The chairman of the judges [Jack Pringle] told me that he thought it was amazing the way that it influences the surrounding city.

I think that people are coming to love it. I am not sure about the word vindicated though.

How do you think that the Scottish media will respond to the victory given the vast budget controversy that surrounded the project?

The budget problem was a political thing. It was, though, not true that it was 10 times over budget. That was all to do with the politicians. The papers will do what they always do.

When you are in town do you tell people - for example, cab drivers - who you are?

Sometimes I do tell them and they are always very nice to me. I think people are growing to love the building. Sometimes people recognise me. Last month I was in Barcelona and two people from Scotland came up to me and asked me if I was Benedetta Tagliabue. When I said yes, they thanked me for giving them the Scottish Parliament. It was very nice.

Out there in the hall celebrating are lots of folk from RMJM. What is your relationship with them like at the moment? Things have not always been great between you.

Did you say hello to [ex-RMJM boss] Brian Stewart this evening?

The relationship between me and RMJM has always been very civilised. I do always go over and say hello. RMJM is a very professional firm that is very good. It is very much in touch with Scotland and the way the country works.

This was important because we were a foreign company.

At a previous interview you told me you would do it all over again.

Do you stand by that comment?

Are you bonkers?

No. Hahahahaha! I would definitely do it all again. It is a wonderful scheme and people love it. It was definitely worth it.

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