Miralles widow fears new anti-terror door will "rupture" Holyrood

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By Michael MacLeod

A BIDDING war to build a new anti-terrorist security entrance to the Scottish Parliament has been criticised by the widow of the building’s original architect.

Benedetta Tagliabue, widow of Spanish architect Enric Miralles, said the competition to design an extension will “rupture” the £431 million parliament.

She told weekend reports that she did not want “new hands” touching the iconic and controversial designs.

Speaking on the eve of the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death, Tagliabue, 47, revealed a plan to protect her late husband’s legacy.

She said EMBT, the Barcelona-based architectural firm she and Miralles formed in 1993, will bid for the contract to design the multi-million-pound security upgrade.

Several other firms have also submitted initial plans for the project, which Holyrood bosses hope will deter terrorist strikes.

Contract

Tagliabue said: “I don’t think it is a very good idea to have new hands, new architects, working on the same building.

“This is not very clever.

“We have to promote architecture, but not in this way.”

EMBT won the original contract to design the Scottish Parliament building and based its work on upturned concrete boats.

The project was delivered three years late and ten times over budget but has since won a number of high-profile architectural competitions.

The new security building is expected to cover a 250 square-metre area in front of the public entrance opposite the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

No price tag has been put on the development yet but a similar security area opened at Westminster last year costing £12.5million.

“Very ruptured”

Tagliabue said she had submitted a proposal for the new project but had not been contacted by Holyrood officials since.

She said: “The only thing I could do is participate in the competition.

“I think it is very, very ruptured to make a centre in front of the building done by someone else.”

Parliament officials said they were bound by law to open up all building projects to the usual bidding process.

A contract will be awarded towards the end of 2010, with completion due in 2013.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said: “We are still at the pre-qualification stage of the tender process for this contract.

“Over summer we expect the five highest-scoring companies to be invited to tender for the contract.

“As always, we will ensure the contract offers the best value for money for the Parliament.”

Miralles died of a brain tumor aged 45 in 2000, leaving Tagliabue to finish the project.

A decade on since her husband’s death, she said she plans to set up an organisation in his memory.

The Enric Miralles Foundation will aim to celebrate his work and nurture new young architects.

She said: “I think ten years is really important to me because it means now we really have to pay homage to Enric and the person he was.

“Now is the moment to really make something to remind us of him as an individual.”

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