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QEII Centre thrown lifeline as radical design for Houses of Parliament revealed

Architects unveil floating temporary home next to Palace of Westminster

Pictured: An artistic rendering of the proposed floating structure.

London’s QEII Centre’s survival as a conference centre may have been thrown an unlikely lifeline as a top architectural firm has unveiled a proposal to build a temporary home for the Houses of Parliament on the river Thames

Urgent renovation work to the historic building is estimated to take around six years to complete and the QEII Centre has been proposed as the likely new home for the House of Lords. Architectural firm Gensler is proposing that it can save the taxpayer more than £1.8bn with a floating structure that can be moored just 10 metres from Westminster.

Ian Mulcahey, MD at Gensler, said: “The concept provides a simple solution to what is a very complex problem. The challenge has been to find a location that enables all the key components of Parliament to be located together in close proximity to the wider Government estate in Whitehall. The objective has been to minimise disruption and reduce the cost of the refurbishment to the taxpayer.”

The design takes inspiration from the hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall, which was commissioned by Richard II in 1393 and is the largest medieval timber roof in Northern Europe. The 250-metre-long structure would be built on a series of steel platforms and the building above would be a dramatic, high-tech, wooden-framed structure covering 8,600 sqm, which would provide all the necessary environmental and acoustic containment. The new modular structure could be built in less than three years in shipyards across the UK and floated along the Thames to be secured and assembled on the river some 10 metres from the Palace of Westminster.

  • Vivien Reuter of ConVenire 08/06/2017

    Welcome proposal and beautiful design. Could become a fixture.

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