Ian Ritchie Architects concept for temporarily housing the Chambers of the House of Lords and House of Commons is a radical, economic, secure, and elegant solution for both Chambers with ancillary accommodation which would cost £55 million including design fees and a 20% contingency.
Our drawings show the concept illustrated in three different potential locations; the House of Commons and House of Lords placed in Whitehall Gardens in front of the MOD building; a view of the same buildings on Horse Guards Parade; and in the FCO Courtyard (the Commons), and the Treasury’s Courtyard (the Lords).
There is one more radical proposal which acknowledges history and suggests a very different economic solution. This has appealed enormously to SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which unveiled our thinking to the press. Parliament has sat in Oxford before – under both Charles I and Charles II on four occasions – on one occasion to avoid the plague in London. Would the Lords (and the Commons) consider a move to Oxford (rather than York) which has two ready-made chambers at the Bodleian’s Divinity School? The Divinity School was designed between 1423 and 1488 specifically for discussions on theology, and its stunning spaces probably popularised Tudor arches. The Convocation House is on the lower floor (1634–1637).
Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain’s Heritage says: “Ian Ritchie’s design offers huge savings on the £1billion plus cost of demolishing and rebuilding the Grade II* Richmond House to provide a permanent “legacy” 3rd Chamber which may never be required.”
Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage says: “This new scheme shows that with a more realistic brief, a temporary home for both the Commons and Lords doesn’t have to cost hundreds of millions of pounds. By retaining Richmond House, you also save office space so there is no need to re-provide it. Ian Ritchie’s plans are less destructive, cheaper and more realistic.”