The looming renovation of the 19th century Palaces of Westminster, home to Parliament and the nexus of UK politics, has presented no shortage of ideas on what to do with the hundreds of elected and non-elected officials and their staff. Some interesting ideas include moving to Manchester or Birmingham but the general consensus is that the renovation is an opportunity to innovate.
UK parliamentarians have to vacate their iconic Palace of Westminster because it’s falling apart inside, but powerhouse American architectural firm Gensler says its “radical” plan to re-house them temporarily on a pavilion in the River Thames would be architecturally innovative and save billions. More importantly, this is an opportunity to represent transparency and democracy through avant-garde materials and structures.
Whilst I agree that moving UK Parliament to a different city would likely improve politician accessibility and distribute the economic power, I think this may ultimately be too logistically challenging. This Gensler proposal represents the broader movement of government and public buildings toward more open and transparent spaces. Practically (and perhaps more importantly), this proposal represents significant financial savings.
As government, both at a local and central level, continue to trim budgets they will need to think more adventurously about their physical surroundings and the costs of maintaining such structures. I hope this idea encourages more town halls, legislatures, and government buildings to rethink their spaces.
During Westminster palace renovation, floating structure could provide a temporary home for parliament