Monday, 5 May 2008

Scotland's Parliament building

This is the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. It cost huge fortunes to build - somewhere in the region of £414 million - quite a difference between that cost and original estimates of between £10 million and £40 million. It also took 3 years longer to build than expected.

When you see the building, you can start to see why it cost so much - every element is different, so most of the elements must have been 'bespoke' with short repeat runs - no mass production or off the shelf elements of the building at all..

Even the fencing down the sides of the building is bespoke.
And there is a lot of it!

This is the front entrance. Inside it is very light and airy. Lots of glass, concrete, stainless steel and wood.

This is the debating chamber. All the wooden trusses holding the roof up are being supported by steel joists.

However, I can tell you that no woman would ever have designed a building like this. Much of the glass is inaccessible, and therefore difficult if not impossible to clean. Apparently, it is self cleaning, but I think that only works on vertical glass or glass which has a steep angle of pitch. The area above, with it's gentle slope, is not managing to clean itself at all - the pigeon excreta is building up nicely.
It looks very unappealing.

There is also lots of glass inside. Again, it is a nightmare to clean large sheets of glass, and this looks really streaky. In the stairwells, there was lots of wooden framing around the glass, with horizontal and sloping surfaces at least 4 inches wide. they were covered in dust, which you could see as you went up and down the stairs. The trouble is, the dusty areas were not accessible for daily cleaning - you would have to get ladders or scaffolds to get up to them.

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