“If you build it, they will come.” That line from the 1998 Kevin Costner baseball movie Field of Dreams is the mantra for any architect keen to make his or her mark on the landscape. The Bilbao Effect - the idea that economic regeneration can follow landmark architecture, inspired by Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum which opened in the Basque city in 1997 - has gone from revelation to cliche to bromide in the last quarter of a century.

But you can see the waves it made around the world in cities as diverse as London and Jersey City, Rotterdam and Dundee. Architectural and engineering innovation is at the heart of place-making in the 21st century.

So what is Scotland’s contribution? As we close in on the first quarter of the century, what are the memorable Scottish buildings of the last 24 years? Which have made a difference? Which have been transformative? Which work? And which do we just rather like?

Here are 10 that tick at least one of those boxes.

The Scottish Parliament buildingThe Scottish Parliament building (Image: free)

Scottish Parliament Building, 2004

Let’s get the contentious one out of the way first, shall we? It’s unlikely that there has been a more controversial building constructed in Scotland this century. It opened in a blizzard of headlines about the enormous costs, financial and deadline overruns, poor project management and serious concerns about architect Enric Miralles’ design. The deaths of Miralles and First Minister Donald Dewar, one of the building’s notable backers, during its construction didn’t help matters.

But now, some 20 years on, it’s a working building? But does it work? It has always seemed a curious mixture of grandeur, surprising tranquillity and a rather irksome fussiness. But Holyrood’s debating chamber is now a familiar part of the political landscape and as a symbol of a renewed Scottish sense of self-belief it serves its purpose.

V&A, DundeeV&A, Dundee (Image: free)

V&A, Dundee, 2018

The waves set off by the Guggenheim in Bilbao in 1997 finally washed ashore on the banks of the River Tay six years ago with the opening of Kengo Kuma’s waterfront museum. Made up of two inverted pyramid structures, it is a building that is monumental and yet somehow avoids being self-aggrandising. Showy, but not a show-off.

The exterior is simply thrilling, a ship’s prow of a thing, sitting surprisingly low on the water. It proudly displays its workings and transforms the experience of the riverfront. When it opened there were some qualms about the interior, but it has proved a welcoming space. Nearly two million people have visited the museum and last year it was estimated that it had generated £304m for the Scottish economy. The question now is can you imagine Dundee without it?

Maggie’s Centre, Forth Valley, Larbert

Of course it’s not only about looks. Charles and Maggie Jencks’s inspired idea to invite cutting-edge architects to design buildings for cancer care has resulted in the likes of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid building in Scotland. But the resulting buildings have a very specific purpose - cancer care and support. They have to be functional. The Maggie’s Centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow (designed by OMA) and Maggie’s Lanarkshire in Airdrie (the work of Scottish practice Reiach + Hall) have both been rightly praised for their meeting of form and function, but can I suggest the centre designed by London practice Garbers & James to be found in the grounds of Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert. It’s a calm, welcoming space for those struggling with this brutal disease and it’s the Maggie’s I know best. My late wife was a regular visitor at the worst time in her life. And for a short while it made her feel better.

Sir Duncan Rice LibrarySir Duncan Rice Library (Image: free)

Sir Duncan Rice Library, 2011

OK, let’s play favourites. From the outside this library building on the campus of Aberdeen University is, well, alright. Designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, it is smart, clean-lined, notable for its zebra-like pattern of clear and white glass. Notable, but possibly not loveable. And then you go inside and, oh my … The library’s auditorium is hands-down my favourite contemporary space in Scotland. An “architectural whirlwind,” Jonathan Glancey suggested in the Guardian on its opening and you can see what he means. To look up from the ground floor through its off-kilter spiralling stair rises is like finding yourself in the middle of a Hitchockian dolly zoom shot. You'll feel like James Stewart in Vertigo.

And, yes, it’s also a grand functional building much loved by students who like the views. But it’s the jolt of that entrance that gets the blood racing.

Pier Arts Centre, Stromness (Image: free)

Pier Arts Centre, Stromness 2007

Of course the Pier Arts Centre is originally a 20th-century creation, designed by Levitt Bernstein and opened in 1979. But Scottish architects Reiach & Hall had the chance to extend the building in 2007 and while their approach is totally different in materials and aesthetics it is also, according to architectural critic Owen Hatherley in his monumental book Modern Buildings in Britain (Particular Books, 2021), “completely appropriate”.

The result, Hatherley suggests, is “an unlikely fishing village version of Mies van der Rohe”.

The Burrell CollectionThe Burrell Collection (Image: free)

The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, 2022

“From the youngest age I was always interested in making things better than they were,” the Scottish architect John McAslan said in these very pages a month ago. Over the years his practice has been doing just that in its refurbishment of King’s Cross Station in London, Penn Station in New York and, closest to home, the Burrell in Glasgow. McAslan’s team spent six years renovating and updating the building to match the client’s demand that it become “the most accessible museum in the world”. It welcomed half a million visitors in its first year after reopening.

Riverside Museum, GlasgowRiverside Museum, Glasgow (Image: free)

Riverside Museum, Glasgow, 2011

I met Zaha Hadid once. For about 10 minutes. Even in that short time it was clear she wasn’t so much an architect as a rock star. Imperious, haughty, rather grand, yet flighty and funny too. She talked about how she used to go clubbing in Glasgow, which made me think she’d be great company on a night out.

That was in 2011, the day the Riverside Museum opened, the first cultural building her practice had built in Britain (for years she had been an architect whose electric designs never got beyond paper).

Hadid sadly died in 2016, but the Riverside, with its jaggedy face - imagine a heart monitor being put through its paces - and crimped roof, is a very decent legacy.

Campus Central, Stirling University, Stirling, 2021

Another example of biographical bias, I know, but this reimagining of my old alma mater’s central access point by the practice Page\Parks is an impressive example of problem-solving at work. When I was a student this was a busy roundabout for buses and cars. Now it’s both a handsome pedestrian space and the reworked entrance to the university building. The latter has an airy, almost Scandi feel in its use of glass and steel. The result is a welcome addition to the most beautiful campus in Scotland.

Carnegie Library, DunfermlineCarnegie Library, Dunfermline (Image: free)

Carnegie Library, Dunfermline, 2017

Richard Murphy’s still newish museum space in the historic centre of Dunfermline is wrapped around the very first Andrew Carnegie Library. Neither suffers from the juxtaposition. And the building has helped give the city a new lease of life.

An Cala, Sutherland, 2018

Of course most architecture is domestic in scale and purpose. And private clients can be just as adventurous as public bodies. Domestic projects such as Tragerhaus, a cantilever house in Whitecraigs enjoying spectacular views over Cathcart golf course, or Due West in Argyll and Bute, prove the point. But let’s plump for a more modest two-bedroom home built facing Loch Nedd in Sutherland. Designed by architect Mary Arnold-Foster, this larch-clad building was built from 13 modules all constructed offsite in a factory in Invergordon and then transported up a single track lane and put together in just four days. The resulting building packs a punch despite its modest footprint.