When I first arrived in Scotland in 2001, the new Scottish Parliament was quite new. In fact, they didn’t even have a permanent building! But finally, in 2004, the building was completed and the MSPs moved in.
Since then, I’ve walked past the building countless times, each time noticing something new about the building’s unique and challenging design. And like many people, the building’s beauty slowly grew on me. In fact, I’ve become a big fan of the exterior and I can actually see the architect’s vision of the building and how it’s meant to “reflect the land it represents”.
And now, I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally made it to the inside of the building. (But, I confess, only because my friend suggested it as a fun day out. I would have suggested we clamber up Calton Hill.)
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I do know I was more impressed than I expected I would be. Although I confess that there was a real feel of a modern-day conference facility to the place, hideously patterned carpets and all!
When the tour began, a young boy was offered a quiz to do as we toured, so I took the opportunity to request one for myself, too. (Yeah, I’m childish like that.) But I’m really pleased that I did it because the quiz seemed to have little tidbits of information that the main tour didn’t. Like the sculpture of the pink-footed goose egg in the garden. I mean, that’s cool stuff!
By the end of the tour, I was actually pretty impressed with the building and the little details that pulled everything together. I think I was most impressed, however, with the idea of the building (and the parliament as a whole) being open and accessible at all times. This Scottish Parliament is the people’s parliament.
And now that I know that, I think I might actually go and sit in on a session or two (or more!) in the future. After all, what good is a public viewing gallery if the public doesn’t use it to keep a watchful eye on those who are governing them?
[Image copyright Zenit, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution]