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Parliament nomination 'bad' for profession

A row over whether the Scottish Parliament should be on the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist has emerged ahead of the high-profile awards ceremony on Saturday.

A former RMJM employee has raised fears that the nomination for the controversial building, which his company designed with Enric Miralles, sends out the wrong message about architects.

The £430 million scheme has attracted criticism for costing three times more than its initial projected budget.

The designer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: 'By nominating a building and process that has caused so many problems for its client, what message are we sending to other clients?

'And what message are we sending to architects? Would we be encouraging the idea that architects design with their heads in the clouds, ignorant of their clients' needs and aspirations?'

He added: 'The fact that RMJM were kind of exonerated after taking so much flak in the press might not matter to this argument - the damage to the architect/client relationship was done and it's fair to say that the management of that relationship is part of the architect's duty.'

While admitting the project has achieved the 'higher meaning and significance it set out to', Andrew Stoddart of Above & Beyond Architecture has also added fuel to the fire.

He feels a pat on the back by the architectural establishment could tarnish views of the profession.

He said: '[High] profile examples such as this only serve to exacerbate negative perceptions of architects' failure to adhere to budget and time constraints.'

He added: 'Ultimately, most clients are seeking a creative solution that is delivered on time and on budget.'

Despite these comments the building - which scooped the RIAS Doolan Prize last week - is still among the favourites to land the prize in its home city of Edinburgh.

by Richard Waite

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