Lonely Planet Writer

Floating bubble could replace London’s Houses of Parliament during renovations

Britain’s politicians could soon be debating in a half-submerged bubble in the Thames, reports Citylab.com.

The proposed floating bubble beside London's Houses of Parliament.
The proposed floating bubble beside London’s Houses of Parliament. Image by Gensler

The plan has been proposed by an American architecture firm who claim it’s the best solution to the Houses of Parliament’s woeful state. The iconic neo-Gothic building has been the home of the UK government since 1870, but will almost certainly need to close between 2020 and 2026 for essential repairs. Its wiring and ventilation systems haven’t been touched for decades, and there are leaking roofs, mice and hidden pockets of asbestos .

The floating bubble would house British politicians while the Houses of Parliament are being renovated.
The floating bubble would house British politicians while the Houses of Parliament are being renovated. Image by Gensler

The proposal would see MPs relocate to a temporary bubble right in front of parliament. The 820-foot-long structure would float on the Thames and have a wood-framed dome divided into two humps, one for the House of Commons and one for the House of Lords. The firm behind the futuristic plan, Gensler, have dubbed it Project Poseidon. They claim the design would cost £160 million but would save over £1 billion by avoiding the need for MPs to move into temporary offices in the Department of Health. It could subsequently become a museum.

The plan has at least one high-profile supporter. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, told Building magazine “I’ve only seen the outline drawings of it, but I think it’s of merit and should be looked at.” The Department of Health is just north of the Houses of Parliament and remains the most likely spot for the House of Commons to relocate to, although other options have been mooted – including permanently moving parliament to Manchester or Birmingham.