The Houses of Parliament have certainly had a colourful history; surviving fires, bombs and The Gunpowder Plot. Now, school students across the country have suggested that Parliament should be relocated to Newcastle, Sherwood Forest or the West Country, and the iconic Palace of Westminster transformed into a luxury hotel or museum.
The students' ambitious proposals are a response to a competition organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects
(RIBA), inviting pupils from across the UK to design a Parliament for the Future. Nine shortlisted designs will be on display in the prestigious Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament (7-17 July), and the overall winning project will be awarded at a ceremony on 7 July.
Held as part of the RIBA's 175th anniversary celebrations in partnership with National Construction Showcase, part of ConstructionSkills, pupils aged 14–19 from 124 school teams across England and Wales were challenged to design a new Parliament building to meet the needs of Government in the 21st Century. Entries were judged on their design and their consideration of location, climate change and sustainability. Nine schools from across the country were shortlisted and have worked with an architect mentor to develop their exhibited designs.
The competition marks the 175th anniversaries of both the RIBA and of the completion of the current Palace of Westminster, after it was significantly damaged by fire in 1834 and rebuilt according to a design by Sir Charles Barry in 1844.
The following schools were shortlisted:
Joseph Swan School, Gateshead
St Robert of Newminster Catholic School & Sixth Form College, Washington
Southmoor School , Ryhope
The Trinity Catholic School, Aspley
Eastbourne College, Eastbourne (team 1)
Torquay Girls Grammar School , Torquay
Eastbourne College, Eastbourne (team 2)
Colyton Grammar School , Colyton
Tavistock Community College , Tavistock
Speaking about the competition, RIBA President Sunand Prasad said:
"We have had a wonderful and inventive set of ideas and propositions in response to the invitation to schools to design a future parliament as part of the RIBA's 175 Anniversary programme. It shows what a high level of interest in architecture and the environment there is amongst young people and how capable they are of imagining tomorrow's world in all its complexity."
Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills said: "This competition shows the imagination of young people – the architects of the future who will leave a lasting legacy for us all. It is wonderful to see young people developing skills that have been and will continue to be passed down through the generations. I wish the competitors the very best of luck."