One of the most traditional institutions in the world, up there with, say, Stone Henge for embracing change, has got a whole new vibe planned when they finally vacate the Houses of Parliament for the building’s refit, and it looks genuinely futuristic.
While parliament undergoes its £4bn upgrade (yup, that’s billion – it’d literally be cheaper to knock it down and start again), the whole operation of parliament must move to an alternative location, and after much deliberation they’ve decided to shift it to nearby Richmond House, currently where the Department of Health is based. Maybe it’s the free apples.
The cost of the refurb-to-make-way-for-the-refurb comes to a smooth £400 million, part of a £1.6bn spruce-up of the parliamentary estate and on TOP of the £4bn parliament upgrade, but the result, courtesy of architects AHMM, is a new take on one of the world’s most iconic interiors. Although retaining the adversarial model, and with plenty of nods to the original House of Commons chamber, the new interior will be lighter, far more accessible and will feature a greatly improved public gallery.
The scheme will also see a new entrance, opposite the cenotaph on Whitehall, and further redevelopment of the surrounding buildings to create new office space for MPs currently crammed in the crumbling Norman Shaw buildings.
Of course, once you’ve filled it with 600 old grey white pin-suited men the futuristic sheen might be slightly worn off, but nevertheless, this is apparently the future come 2025. We’re just sad that an alternative proposal, which would have seen parliament decant into a floating new home wasn’t adopted.