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Enric Miralles

Enric Miralles
The Scottish Parliament Building committee room ceiling.
Born (1955-02-25)25 February 1955
Died 3 July 2000(2000-07-03) (aged 45)
Sant Feliu de Codines, Province of Barcelona
Nationality Spain
Occupation Architect
Awards Stirling Prize (2005)
Madrid City Prize (1993)
National Prize of Spanish Architecture (1995)
Golden Lion (1996)
Buildings Scottish Parliament Building
Igualada Cemetery
Santa Caterina Market (Video on YouTube)
Exterior view of the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh
Debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament

Enric Miralles Moya (25 February 1955 – 3 July 2000) was a Spanish architect. He graduated from the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in 1978. After establishing his reputation with a number of collaborations with his first wife Carme Pinós, the couple separated in 1991. He later married fellow architect Benedetta Tagliabue, and the two practiced together as EMBT Architects. Miralles' magnum opus and his largest project, the new Scottish Parliament Building, was unfinished at the time of his death.


  • Life 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Academia 3
  • Work 4
    • Buildings 4.1
    • Projects 4.2
    • Furniture 4.3
  • Awards 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8


In 1978, he completed his examinations at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura (ETSAB) in Barcelona. From 1973 to 1978 he worked in the architect's office of Albert Viaplana and Helio Piñón and whilst there—among other things—he was involved in the construction of the Plaça dels Països Catalans, the forecourt for the Estació de Sants. In 1984 after several architectural competition awards, he formed his own office in Barcelona with his first wife Carme Pinós, which they led together until 1991. Within the rising Spanish architecture scene of the late 1980s following the death of Francisco Franco, their unusual buildings attracted international attention. As a result, they received numerous commissions from Spain and overseas. After their separation, Miralles and Pinós continued to work in separate offices.

In 1993 Enric Miralles formed a new practice with his second wife, the Italian architect Benedetta Tagliabue, under the name "EMBT Architects". She resumed the practice under his name after his death. The most important projects; the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh and the multistoried building for the Spanish gas company Gas Natural in Barcelona, were only finished after his death. Enric Miralles died at the age of 45 as the result of a brain tumor.


The independent architectural language of Enric Miralles can be difficult to classify in terms of contemporary architecture. It is influenced by Spanish architects, such as Alejandro de la Sota, José Antonio Coderch and Josep Maria Jujol, and also from international greats such as Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and Alvar Aalto and the Russian Constructivist movement of the early 20th century. The freely formed buildings utilising massive building materials and steel, develop from their relationship with the environment and connect themselves to it. The form is constructed using often unusual materials which are generally left with natural surfaces. Form and material interpret the place, traditions and history in a personal and poetic art, as his critics attest. From the starting point of the townscape or landscape he would design a building in its totality, down to the details of the furnishing and the exterior installations. Therefore, the execution of the details was just as important to the communication of meaning as the main form. Both were developed over a large number of designs and with numerous models as the main tool of the design process.

Charles Jencks, writing on the problems surrounding the construction of the Scottish Parliament Building and the controversial reception of its design for Architecture Today, summed up Miralles' architectural style:

Miralles, like many other postmodern architects, has a preference for piling on the motifs and ideas: upturned boats, keel shapes, deep window reveals like a castle, crow-steps, prow shapes, diagonal gutters, 'bamboo bundles' and above all the dark granite gun-shape that repeats as an ornamental motif at a huge scale. Everywhere broken silhouettes compete for attention, just like the alleyways next door. That's fine, and contextual, but it's quite a meal. As a result of the complexity, the parliament is really a kind of small city, with much too much to digest in one short three-hour sitting. The Scottish parliament will take time to judge: maybe not 50 years but three or four visits, long enough to absorb all the richness and get used to those jumpy black granite guns, the most arbitrary of several questionable ornaments.[1]


Enric Miralles was an active teacher at numerous universities. In 1985, he became a professor at the ETSAB in Barcelona. During 1990 he took over the conceptional design chair at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. In 1993, he received an invitation from Harvard University to occupy the Kenzo Tange chair. He taught as a guest lecturer at Columbia University in New York, Princeton University in New Jersey, the Architectural Association in London, the Berlage Instituut in Rotterdam, the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and the Universities of Buenos Aires and Mexico City.



In Partnership with Carme Pinós

In Partnership with Benedetta Tagliabue

  • 1999 Maretas Museum, Lanzarote
  • 1999 to 2006 Torre Mare Nostrum, Head office of Gas Natural, Barcelona
  • 2002 Public space design Western Hafencity Hamburg
  • 2000 to 2005 New building of the architecture faculty, Venice, Italy


In Partnership with Carme Pinós

In Partnership with Benedetta Tagliabue

  • 1993 Old Port Redevelopment competition, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 1995 Chemnitz Stadium
  • 1995 Dresden Stadium
  • 1995 Laboratory building for the University of Dresden
  • 1995 Tram stop in Frankfurt am Main
  • 1996 Japanese National Library, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1996 Auditorium for the University of Lübeck
  • 1997 Pier in Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1998 San Michele Cemetery extension competition, Venice, Italy
  • 1999 Law courts competition in Salerno, Italy
  • 1999 University campus Vigo, Pontevedra (province)
  • 2000 Wolfsburg Science Center competition
  • 2001 Competition for the head office of the California Department of Transportation, Los Angeles, U.S.
  • 2007 Enric Miralles Public Library in Palafolls Catalonia


  • The Sentada chair for Artespaña
  • 1993 The Iñes Table - designed for a project in Grenoble - a multi-use piece of furniture accommodating a variety of working and storage requirements.



  1. ^ Charles Jencks (January 2005). "Identity parade: Miralles and the Scottish parliament: On the architectural territories of the EMBT/RMJM parliament building". Architecture Today no.154 p. 32–44. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  2. ^ "Small House for a Kolonihaven, by Enric Miralles". Stories of houses. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 


  • Enric Miralles, Something seen at right and left (without glasses), 1983 (PhD thesis - the title refers to Erik Satie's Choses vues à droite et à gauche)
  • El Croquis 30+49 / 50 Omnibus Volume. Enric Miralles / Carme Pinos: obra construita / built works 1983-1994. Madrid: El Croquis, 1995.
  • Miralles, E.; Taliabue, B. (2004). EMBT Enric Miralles, Bernadetta Tagliabue, Work in Progress (Paperback) (in English and Catalan). Barcelona: Col-legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya Publications. 
  • Zabalbeascoa, Anatxu (1996). Igualada Cemetery: Enric Miralles and Carme Pinos (Architecture in Detail) [Barcelona 1986 - 90; architects: Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós, 1986 competition project; Enric Miralles, 1987 - 90 project and construction]. London: Phaidon Press.  
  • Herrero Delicado, Gonzalo (2008). "A building that talks with the sea", A10 new European architecture #21, "Section: Beyond transparency" p. 57. Amsterdam: A10 Media BV. 

External links

  • EMBT Architects homepage
  • Barcelona Architecture at the Wayback Machine (archived October 22, 2009) Chronology of Catalan architecture and biographies of Catalan architects, from the gothic master builders to contemporary architecture, including Miralles & Tagliabue
  • Enric Miralles at the archINFORM database.
  • Full CV/Resume
  • MEAM net
  • Enric Miralles Public Library
  • Archmaps | Architecture Guide Map of great architects | Enric Miralles
  • website in homage to Enric Miralles
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