The Garden Lobby is located to the south of Queensberry House and gets its name from its location next to the Parliament Garden. During the development of the design it replaced the proposal for a circulation route through Queensberry House thus freeing up space in that building for offices. The Garden Lobby creates a light and open informal meeting space for MSPs, staff, media, and visitors. A range of events are often held here.
The Garden Lobby is the main route from MSPs’ Offices to the Debating Chamber and Committee Rooms. It also provides access to Queensberry House, the Canongate Building and to the formal and self service restaurants.
The main features of the Garden Lobby are the twelve leaf-shaped roof lights. Made from stainless steel and glass with solid oak struts, the unique rooflights allow a lot of natural light to penetrate the space.
Many of the steel panels around the roof lights have cut -outs which form the shape of part of the map of the west coast of Scotland. Looking beyond the cut-out, the shape of the panels which feature on the façades of many of the buildings can be seen. These panels have a functional use as behind them are vents, linked to the building management system, which open automatically to allow natural ventilation to circulate around the Garden Lobby.
The grand stairs in the Garden Lobby lead up to the Debating Chamber, which can be accessed via the glazed walkway.
The flooring in the Garden Lobby is made of Kemnay granite from Aberdeenshire, Caithness flag, and oak strips.
The Parliament Garden is based on a traditional Scottish knot garden. It was intended that the traditional style of the garden would act as a contrast to the modern design of the building. The garden contains traditional box hedges as well as a row of both apple and pear trees. These trees were planted as a reminder that the garden is located on the site of the old Queensbury House Orchard. It also contains a small herb garden which grows Marjoram, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage. These herbs are regularly used by our team of chefs who include them in many of their dishes.
Broken slates have been incorporated into the design of the garden. The design idea was to take the vertical grey of the building and place it horizontally in the garden. Climbing plants have been planted along the rear wall of the garden. As these grow they will help to develop the image that the building blends into the landscape. Additionally, the plants and shrubs in the garden have been chosen to reflect the main party colours of yellow, red and blue.