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The Scottish Parliament wins £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects’ Journal

The Scottish Parliament, designed by EMBT / RMJM Ltd, has won the 10th RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects’ Journal. The presentation of the UK’s premier architectural award took place at a glittering award ceremony at the Royal Museum, Edinburgh and was televised live on Channel 4 at 8pm, Saturday 15 October.
The judges commented:
“The Scottish Parliament Building is a remarkable architectural statement which has an enormous impact not only on the visitors to the building but also on the users who repeatedly move through a series of extraordinary spaces and their changing effects.
“That a project has outlived both its original client (Donald Dewar) and its architect (Enric Miralles) and still got built and built well, is very much down to the vision and dogged determination of one man: Chief
Architect at the Scottish Executive, John Gibbons. This is his building every bit as much as it is Dewar’s. He was the man who had to ensure that
the original vision of two men who had achieved instant sainthood on their deaths and whose work could therefore not be touched, could be realised –
and afforded.
“The proof of the extraordinary architectural ambition and design vision is to be seen in every aspect and detail of the finished building. At the
outset, Miralles made a major contribution in leading the clients towards a proper understanding of their needs and the final formulation of the
role and function of the building. Further, through his awareness of the problems and knowledge of the subject, the architect has formulated the
philosophy of the role of the Parliament and reflected it in his architectural interpretation.
“In its context the building manifests itself as an attempt at an organic transition between the city and the drama of the Scottish countryside
surrounding it. An extremely successful landscaping makes this transition even more striking. The experience of the interiors is extremely impressive with some of the spaces becoming real ‘gems’ in terms of internal public spaces (entrance hall, conference rooms and above all the Assembly Hall). The list of admirable achievements in the building is a long one and the ability of both the design and construction teams to realise a building of this complexity is truly remarkable.
“The building is a statement of sparkling excellence. On the Memory Wall one of the statements reads, “Say little and say it well”. This building is definitely saying a lot rather than little but it definitely says it well.”
Jack Pringle, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects,
presented Benedetta Tagliabue, representing the EMBT design team, with a
cheque for £20,000.
The Scottish Parliament beat off stiff competition from five other
outstanding examples of British architecture. BMW Central Building,
Leipzig, Germany - Zaha Hadid Architects, Lewis Glucksman Gallery,
University College, Cork, Ireland – O’Donnell + Tuomey, McLaren Technology
Centre, Woking, Surrey - Foster and Partners, Jubilee Library, Brighton,
Sussex - Bennetts Associates with Lomax Cassidy + Edwards, Fawood
Children’s Centre, Harlesden, NW10 - Alsop Design Ltd.
The RIBA Stirling Prize jury visited all six shortlisted buildings and
then met for a final time on the day of the presentation to pick the
winner. The judges were: Jack Pringle – President of the RIBA; Isabel
Allen – Editor, The Architects’ Journal; Joan Bakewell – broadcaster and
writer; Max Fordham – environmental engineer; and Piers Gough – architect,
writer and broadcaster.
For in-depth analysis and images of The Scottish Parliament and the other
shortlisted buildings go to .
This is the tenth year the RIBA Stirling Prize has been presented. Last
year’s winner was 30 St. Mary Axe by Foster and Partners. Previous winners
include the Laban Centre, London by Herzog & de Meuron; Gateshead
Millennium Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre; Magna, Rotherham by Wilkinson Eyre;
Peckham Library and Media Centre by Alsop and Störmer; the NatWest Media
Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground by Future Systems; the American Air Museum
at Duxford by Foster and Partners; The Music School, Stuttgart by Michael
Wilford and Partners; and the Centenary Building, University of Salford,
by Stephen Hodder.
The following winners of the RIBA Special Awards were also announced at
the ceremony:
Stealth House in London, an ad hoc amalgam of pre-existing buildings with
major new elements, has won the RIBA Manser Medal sponsored by Velux in
association with The Best of British Homes for the best one-off house
designed by an architect in the UK.
Gazzano House in London, a new commercial-residential block on Farringdon
Road by Amin Taha Architects, has won this year’s AJ First Building Award
in association with Robin Ellis Design & Construction for the best example
of a first stand-alone building by a British architect practising within
the European Union.
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council has won this year’s RIBA/Arts
Council England Client of the Year Award for commissioning a series of
major art and architecture projects, each of which has contributed to the
regeneration of the town and each of which resulted from well-run
A house at Clonakilty, Cork, by Niall McLaughlin Architects has won the
Stephen Lawrence Prize sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation for
the best example of a building with a construction budget of less than
The Sage Gatehead, designed by Foster and Partners and commissioned by
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council has won the RIBA Inclusive Design
Award in association with the Centre for Accessible Environments and
Allgood. This award celebrates inclusivity in building design, and
demonstrates that good design results in environments that are safe,
convenient and enjoyable to use by people, regardless of disability, age
or gender.
Avanti Architects Ltd has won this year’s Crown Estate Conservation Award
for the conservation of the Isokon (Lawn Road) apartments, in London NW3.
This award is made to the best work of conservation which demonstrates
successful restoration or adaptation of an architecturally significant
Cobtun House, Worcestershire, built of mud, straw and corrugated iron, and
designed by Associated Architects, has scooped this year’s RIBA
Sustainability Award which rewards the building which demonstrates most
elegantly and durably the principles of sustainable architecture.
Notes to editors:
1. The full building credits are:
The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Architect: EMBT / RMJM Ltd
Client: The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
Structural Engineer: Arup
Landscape Architects: EMBT / RMJM Ltd
Building Services Engineer: RMJM Scotland Ltd
Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
Gross internal area: 29,321 sq m
Contract value: £250m
Photographer: Keith Hunter, Duccio Malagamba
2. For further information and images contact Jonathan Morrison in the
RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3884 or 07918 140543 or
3. The RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects’ Journal is
the UK’s most prestigious architectural prize and is awarded annually to
the architects of the building which has made the greatest contribution to
British architecture in the past year. Winners must be RIBA Members and
the building may be anywhere in the European Union. The prize is named
after the architect Sir James Stirling 1926 – 1992. The winner receives
4. Established in 1895, The Architects' Journal has consistently been at
the forefront of architectural publishing. Its weekly news coverage,
comprehensive building studies and in-depth technical and practice
features make it essential reading for the profession, and its incisive
commentary makes it a must-read for opinion formers. The AJ is the UK's
leading independent architectural magazine, whose authoritative voice has
informed generations of architects. For more information on the RIBA
Awards visit the AJ website at
5. For further information go to