The proposed modular structure located on the River Thames could provide a flexible and secure home that will help to save the British taxpayer more than £1.8bn, based on the House Committee’s own estimates, and allows the urgent repair works to proceed. Gensler’s design accommodates all the principle components of the current Houses of Parliament within a new structure located alongside the existing Member’s terrace.
The design maintains the relationship between both Chambers and their supporting Committee Rooms. The scheme includes a dedicated new entrance from the south side of the Palace of Westminster, adjacent to Victoria Tower Gardens, with an option to enable direct access to the existing Central Lobby if required. The 8,600 square meter structure would be made out of steel platforms and a wooden frame with a design inspired by the hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall. Construction of floating Project Poseidon could take as little as three years, taking place at a handful of shipyards around the UK.
The pieces could be shipped across the Thames to be assembled in their final place, only 10 meters away from the Palace of Westminster. Gensler, excitedly boasts the future applications of the floating structure. Once the refurbishment of the Palace is complete, the modular structure could be relocated and adapted to provide a permanent legacy such as a Museum for Democracy or alternatively a new parliament for an emerging overseas democracy. It is estimated the refurbishment may take up to six years to complete, leaving Parliament in a bind and possibly having to work in multiple, separate locations. Gensler’s solution makes sure government business remains under one roof and enjoys the natural security of the surrounding river.