Architectural Awards

The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood has won nine major architectural awards and is being considered for many more.

1. Centenary Medal

Awarded 18 March 2005 by Edinburgh Architectural Association

The Edinburgh Architectural Association presented architects EMBT/RMJM with their first award for the design of Holyrood. The Centenary Medal is the highest accolade that the association can give to any project.

The Centenary Medal was introduced in 1957 to celebrate 100 years of the Association, and to recognise work of outstanding architectural merit. The Medal represents the pinnacle of design achievement, and so is only infrequently awarded: only seven have been given since 1957. The most recent previous winner was the new Museum of Scotland by Benson & Forsyth in 1999.

The judging panel, consisting of Professor Robin Webster of Glasgow based Cameron Webster Architects; Eelco Hooftman of Edinburgh based Landscape Architects Gross Max; and Ian Springford of Ian Springford Architects, were unanimous in awarding Holyrood the Centenary Medal.

EAA President, Colin Gilmour, praised the winning architects for "having the vision, courage and stamina to create a masterful piece of architecture which all of Scotland should be proud of."


2. Manuel de la Dehesa Prize - 'Premio De Arquitectura'

Awarded April 2005

The VIII Biennial of Spanish Architecture 2005 awarded EMBT/RMJM the prestigious Manuel de la Dehesa prize. The award of 'Premio De Arquitectura' was made in recognition of Enric Miralles' design for the Holyrood building.

The architects were chosen as the overall winners from 34 nominated candidates for projects constructed during 2003-04.

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer George Reid MSP said:

"The Spanish Biennial is one of the showcase events of world architecture and design. It is up there with the Venice Biennial. To be awarded the Manuel de la Dehesa prize is a fitting tribute to Enric Miralles and the whole design team, and it is also a major recognition of the Holyrood building.


3. The Architecture Grand Prix


4. Best Publicly Funded Building

Awarded 27 May 2005

The Scottish Parliament has won two major Scottish architectural awards. It was named the Best Publicly Funded Building and also won the main prize, the Architecture Grand Prix at the Scottish Design Awards.

Penny Lewis, editor of Prospect architectural magazine, and one of the competition's judges, said: "The judging panel was extremely impressed by the quality of the design, the craftsmanship and the attention to detail inside the Parliament. The panel was particularly impressed with the Garden Lobby, which has a big impact on anybody who goes there.

The panel, which was drawn from across the UK, reached a consensus, as the level of imagination and quality of the ambitions for the building put it in a different league from the other contenders."


5. Specialist Prize – ‘High Quality Urban Design and Landscape Architecture’.

Awarded 16 June 2005

The Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood received a specialist award at the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust's Building of the Year Award 2005. The Parliament's award was won in the specialist ‘urban and landscape' category which recognises the project for demonstrating a high quality urban design and landscape architecture.

A five member panel, consisting of some of the world's leading architectural talent, also short listed the Parliament for the overall ‘Building of the Year 2005' award.


6. Royal Institute of British Architects Award

Awarded 17 June 2005

The Scottish Parliament building was picked from over 500 entrants to be one of seventy-one new buildings from across the UK and Europe honoured for their excellence in design quality and their contribution to the local environment. The award made the Scottish Parliament eligible for consideration for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

The Stirling Prize is presented by the Royal Institute to the architects of the building which has made the greatest contribution to British Architecture in the past year.

The three member jury which selected the Parliament for the award comprised:

  • Chair of Jury, Eva Jirinca, the Czech born architect and founding partner of London based Eva Jiricna Architects.
  • Regional Representative, Steven Spier, Head of Architecture at Strathclyde University
  • Lay assessor, novelist, Mavis Cheek

The jury said of the Scottish Parliament:

“The building is a statement of sparkling excellence. On the Canongate Wall one of the statements reads “Say little and say it well”. The building is definitely saying a lot rather than a little but it definitely says it well.”


7. Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture, Best Building in Scotland 2005

Awarded 5 October 2005

The Scottish Parliament building won the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture. The Award recognises the best new building in Scotland 2005.

Also on the shortlist were the A' Chrannag housing project on the Isle of Bute, the Edinburgh Quay, Phase One development, and the Community Centre for Health and the Sentinel Office Development, both in Glasgow.

RIAS President and chair of the judging panel, Douglas Read, said that Enrique Miralles' concept has “resulted in one of the most instantly identifiable buildings in Europe. There is no part of this building that has not been consciously designed, everything has been considered.  It is not a minimalist building; it has decoration and a rich array of symbolism…It also has complete public access and a dedication to transparent democracy and, while meeting all these demands, it also takes full advantage of its prominent site to merge in with the land - as Miralles always said he wanted it to. It is a magnificent achievement and the design team EMBT/RMJM deserve our fullest congratulations”


8. Stirling Prize

Awarded 15 October 2005

The Scottish Parliament was awarded the tenth anniversary Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Stirling prize. It is the first time in the award's ten year history that a building in Scotland has won the prestigious architecture prize.

The Parliament was one of six buildings shortlisted for the award which recognises the building which has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The five other buildings competing for this year's Stirling Prize were:

  • BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany
  • Fawood Children's Centre, Harlesden, London
  • Jubilee Library, Brighton, Sussex
  • Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork, Ireland
  • McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, Surrey

The Stirling Prize jury, which comprised of architecture specialists and lay judges from the arts visited the Scottish Parliament on 5 September. The judges were:

  • Jack Pringle – President Elect of the RIBA
  • Isabel Allen – Editor, The Architects' Journal
  • Joan Bakewell – Broadcaster and writer
  • Max Fordham – Environmental engineer
  • Piers Gough – Architect, writer and broadcaster


9.Civic Trust Award

Awarded 29 March 2006

The Civic Trust Awards recognise the very best in architecture, urban design, landscaping and public art; they are awarded to projects of the highest quality design, but only if they are also judged to have made a positive contribution to the local environment.

316 schemes entered the Awards in 2006. A combination of landscape design, buildings (restorations and new builds), public art and regeneration schemes were submitted.


Award Nominations

Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture

The building was a finalist in the Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture which is awarded for works of exceptional quality.

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