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Catalonia president bags RIAS honorary fellowship

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Pasqual Maragall, Catalonia’s president, has been given an honorary fellowship from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

The mayor of Barcelona between 1982-97, Maragall helped bring the Olympic Games to the city in 1992 and was behind the regeneration work which is said to have transformed the economy of the Catalan city.

President Maragall took part in a question-and-answer session alongside Barcelona architect David Mackay before invited guests at Edinburgh’s Lower Signet Library.

Questions centred on the regeneration of city after the 40-year dictatorship of General Franco and how the 1992 Games’ legacy benefited the city.

Scottish culture minister Fiona Hyslop said: ‘Today, Barcelona is recognised as one of the most important and beautiful cities to visit in the world. To transform the city of old into the place that we now know took remarkable vision, skill and determination.

‘Glasgow 2014 will generate lasting benefits for the whole of Scotland and I am sure there is a lot we can still learn from President Maragall’s experience of delivering such a positive legacy from a major sporting event.’

The president’s visit was supported by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland whose president, David Dunbar, said: ‘Pasqual Maragall’s reputation and influence extends well beyond Catalonia. The regeneration of Barcelona through imaginative architecture and major events, particularly the Olympic Games, is an example from which many other cities have learned.

‘President Maragall instinctively understands the contribution which architects, clever strategic planning and high-quality cultural, commercial and residential development can make to cities. Barcelona’s investment in ideas has paid off massively.

‘The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland is delighted that we have been able to work with the Scottish Government to bring such an inspiring visitor to Scotland.’

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