10 July 2009

Edinburgh

After a few days break in London after the hectic schedule on the mainland we today started our three day road trip of Scotland.
Earlier today we flew into the Scottish capital - Edinburgh. This is my second trip to this fairy tale like city sitting in it's beautiful setting and built around an ancient castle. Exhausted both physically and mentally we decided to see this city using the least possible energy. Which meant we had to resort to taking the extremely touristic hop-on hop-off bus. Nonetheless Edinburgh is one of those city that has the power to impress even the laziest of tourists!
So from the comfort of the open roof double decker we whisked thru the most important sights of the city only hopping off at the Royal Mile.......

.....Our Dynamic Earth... (a project designed by Michael Hopkins) ...

... and the Scottish Parliament....
There is little doubt in the fact that this is the most impressive parliament building built in the last 30 years and on my previous visit after my initial hiccups I had grown to like it - it's spaces, its materials and even it's landscape.
But I am not the same me and I would like to believe that my sense of architecture has evolved since then, so this time around the Scottish parliament was in no way able to arouse in me the same sense of awe! Its contextualism and non conformity (aesthetically) has persuaded some people to consider it to be a truly democratic parliament building. They say it is the true face of democracy - an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
Though I like how this sounds I don't think I completely buy this theory! It's confused symbolism and extravagant use of metaphors bothers me too much. And when I place this building in the oeuvre of its designer - Enric Miralles - all I can conclude is that the design of the Scottish parliament has very little to do with representing any form of governance and is just another building by a highly talented yet whimsical artist/architect.
However, coming to such a conclusion is a lot easier than having to design an institution that has to represent the contemporary state. So how are we to represent something as ephemeral as democracy? Can it be done only so haphazardly? Or rather is it even possible?

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