To my eyes, it seems that most modern buildings are designed to be as ugly as possible. Looking at the Scottish parliament building, I am struck by how unpleasant it is to the eye, and how at odds with the beauty of historic Edinburgh. I wonder though if I am looking at modern architecture incorrectly, and if the ugly is now to be considered beautiful.
The Scots hired an architect from hot, dry Madrid to design this building. So in the heart of Edinburgh, right next to the castle and 'Arthur's Seat', in one of the rainiest climes in Europe, in a shady valley, sits this concrete excuse of a building which has the visual appeal of a crumpled newspaper. It even has (I kid you not) strips of bamboo adorning the outer walls.
The building was supposed to express all that the Scots have to be proud of, their history, and having their own parliament again after hundreds of years. And Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the north, because of its fine classical architecture. So, it does seem odd that an architect from Madrid was the designer, who obviously had no idea of what Edinburgh is or of Scottish culture. To plonk such a monster in the heart of an historic beautiful city is a crime, the Scottish MPs should be embarrassed about.. I hate to think what the Palace of Westminster would look like, if it were being designed today.
My husband, who is Scottish, is deeply offended by it. Architecture is one of the best representatives of the thoughts and feeling of a generation, in my view, and in particular, the view that politicians have of their voters. You cannot fake it. That's why modern churches, like those 1970's ones, cannot fake the faith they lack. They have 'lapsed Catholic' written all over them. The palace of Westminster is inspired by people of faith and passion. They couldn't have achieved it otherwise. The Victorians, in contrast to us now, could not seem to build without making a thing beautiful. Railway stations, factories, even prisons reflected a view of mankind that makes your heart leap today.
Actually, it is thought locally to resemble old fashioned milk bottle tops. And it is next to the mediaeval church of St. Martin, which has been at the heart of Birmingham for hundreds of years, which I think was particularly bad of the architect.