There's something familiar about that Spanish fruit market . . .
THE recent refurbishment of a Spanish fruit and vegetable market has raised the question whether its striking and idiosyncratic features were the inspiration behind the Scottish Parliament building.
Designed in 1997, a year before the Holyrood building, the Santa Caterina Market in the old quarter of Barcelona shares the familiar curved roof outlines, ornate wooden window frames and elaborate entrance.
Benedetta Tagliabue's Barcelona architecture firm EMBT - which designed the Holyrood building - has recently completed the project.
And like its Scottish cousin, the Spanish building was dogged by delays and controversy, not least by the death of Tagliabue's husband, Enric Miralles, the inspiration behind both buildings.
The long metallic tubes and overhanging roof of the colourful market building bear a similarity to the front of the Scottish Parliament, which opened last October at the foot of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
Tagliabue, who picked up her first Scottish design award for the Holyrood building on Friday, admitted people would see similarities.
She said: "A series of buildings that one architect designs is like children from the same family. To the parents they are all different but to outsiders there are lots of similarities.
"I don't see any direct similarities between the Scottish Parliament and the Caterina Market in Barcelona, but they do have in common the aim to break boundaries. Both buildings are trying to influence their surroundings which are both old parts of cities. They are both more than buildings, but a piece of the city. It is natural that there will be similarities, as architects are not infinite."
When she spoke at the Edinburgh City Design Champion Lectures at the Royal Museum, Tagliabue also revealed that she is working on a pioneering school in Nepal as the "perfect antidote" to the parliament funding rows.
Allan Murray, from Allan Murray Architects, said that like artists, architects continue to explore certain ideas throughout their careers. He said: "Architects will develop their own style. When an artist has a blank canvas in front of him, he will tend to use a similar technique, whether approaching a landscape or a nude."
The market project was enveloped in wrangles and unexpected developments along the way. It also includes 59 flats, a museum and underground parking, which meant that EMBT had five different government departments to please. Work also stopped for two years after the ruins of a Roman necropolis were found.
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