Democracy Public Space and Architecture : The Senedd and Holyrood Term Paper

A look at how the Senedd and Holyrood represent democratic ideals in architecture.
# 150427 | 1,380 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | GB
Published on Feb 16, 2012 in Architecture (Buildings) , Political Science (General) , Architecture (General)

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This paper explores the architectural expressions of democracy within the Senedd and Holyrood. Both buildings have been considered controversial in many respects but have many interesting features which make them particularly interesting and worthy of analysis. The discussion starts with a brief examination and clarification of what exactly we mean by democracy and how the term can best be understood before moving on to examine how such values can be interpreted in modern architecture. It then moves on to examine the two relatively modern buildings, namely the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament building, noting how they reflect their founding principles. The paper closes with some concluding remarks on the changing nature of politics and how these values are reflected in the two buildings. This paper contains figures.


The Nature of Democracy
Democracy and Architecture
The National Assembly for Wales - the Senedd
The Scottish Parliament - Holyrood
Reflections on the two buildings

From the Paper:

"One can see clearly the fact that the building is designed to illustrate the principle of transparency. In a very literal sense the building is remarkably transparent, but the shape itself portrays an openness and a clarity which would ideally reflect the principles of the democracy. However, within the recently devolved politics of Wales there is also a strong sense both of a more modern politics and society but also a moderate nationalism, or perhaps a national pride more than traditional nationalism or patriotic sentiment. The building therefore reflects this aspect of the Welsh body politic through the use of traditional Welsh materials, such as slate, but also using significant amounts of renewable energy technology such as rainwater traps for use in toilets or cleaning, as well as whole hosts of other technologies."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Jencks, Charles. "Identity parade: Miralles and the Scottish parliament: On the architectural territories of the EMBT/RMJM parliament building". Architecture Today, (154), 2005, 32-44.
  • Katsuhisa Kida, "The Senedd" Courtesy Richard Rogers Partnership, 2010
  • Mcgin, Russ. "Scottish Parliament Site Plan", 2010
  • Richard Rogers Partnership "Section Drawings of The Senedd". Richard Rogers Partnership, 2010
  • Stoker, Gerry. "Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work". Bristol: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

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