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Scottish Parliament faces television 'demolition'

Enric Miralles and RMJM's Stirling-shortlisted Scottish Parliament could be targeted for demolition by an imminent television programme, after a poll found it was one of Britain's most hated buildings.

A survey for upcoming television series Demolitionhas found that the Miralles/RMJM-designed icon has made the list of 12 buildings that the British public would most like to see destroyed.

The production, a brainchild of RIBA president George Ferguson, will be screened in November.

The idea that one of the schemes that made it to the final six of the Stirling Prize 2005 could be voted one of Britain's most detested buildings will prove an embarrassment to the institute.

According to the show's production team, other buildings on the list include: Gateshead Car Park; Westgate House in Newcastle; Northampton Bus Station; Rugby Cement Works; the Bournemouth IMAX Cinema; Colliers Wood Brown & Root Tower; and 'an extension to the old GLC building off Westminster Bridge'.

These buildings will be featured in the first episode of the Channel 4-commissioned series, produced off the back of an idea for 'X-listing' first forwarded by Ferguson. He proposed that such a list should identify Britain's worst buildings with the purpose of hastening their demise.

Emily Benson, a researcher on the series, confirmed that the Scottish Parliament building was one of those on the list. Buildings were selected due to 'financial reasons' - if the projects ran significantly behind time and over budget - or also if they were out of context with their surroundings, and appeared generally extravagant.

Commenting on the Parliament building's inclusion, former presenter of the £20,000 Stirling Prize and future front man of DemolitionKevin McCloud said: 'That I find shocking, that [the Parliament building] is up against a lot of second-rate buildings.

'I'm a big fan of it - I think being a Member of the Scottish Parliament is one of the best jobs going in Britain right now. But that experience is not carried across both the interior and the exterior of the building.

'The interesting thing is that Miralles was trying to develop a new language. He's explored all kinds of decorative devices and components which are recycled through the building. Like bamboo elements, which could be used to evoke, for example, the Scottish forests, but then they could be anything. The thing is a lot of people look at stylistic embellishments and think they're superfluous.

'That's why only artists and architects are prepared to entertain the building and why people who are not artists and architects, aren't. I think it's an immensely complex design which manages a certain poetic eloquence. But I'm not a Scottish voter.

'When the whole idea was first arrived at, the highest bracketed figure [for the cost of the project] was £40 million and, of course, it's cost something like 10 times that now. It's inevitable that it has attracted a lot of bad feeling among Scots.'

Nominations for Demolitionclosed on 31 March.

by Rob Sharp

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