Allies and Morrison, BDP, HOK and Foster+Partners have been shortlisted among a group of nine firms for the refurbishment project at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. The commission is touted to be worth up to $31.5 million.
Houses of Parliament at night (Robert Sharp / Flickr)
The Palace of Westminster, where the U.K. House of Lords and Commons is situated, is currently falling apart, amassing hefty maintenance costs in tow. This year the annual maintenance bill totalled $73 million. Dating back to 1870, the palace is a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a Grade 1 listed Landmark building in the U.K.
A plan to restore the building earlier in the year caused controversy when it was announced that it could take 40 years and cost over $10 billion to complete. There were even calls to relocate parliamentary affairs to Birmingham or Leeds, outside London, separating the political and cultural capitals, similar to Ankara in Turkey.
Fire hazards, leaky roofs and outdated plumbing have slowly led to the building’s decay, damaging the ornate interior design of Augustus Pugin. Pollution has also caused damage of the exterior masonry, and, to make things worse, there is asbestos littered throughout the structure.
However, earlier in the year, a report earlier in the year commissioned by both the House of Lords essentially stated that renovation works would be carried out to ensure that the Palace of Westminster remains the home of parliamentary procedures. At the time this was a contentious move with projected prices soaring within an austerity government, especially when considering MPs were awarded a 10 percent pay rise only weeks prior.
The report stipulates that modernization is essential. More elevators and air conditioning is needed, along with wheelchair access throughout the building.
With regard to the nine firms shortlisted (full list below), a decision is expected to be made by mid-2016 with construction set to start by 2021.
Architectural and Building Design Services
- Allies and Morrison
- Building Design Partnership Limited
- Foster & Partners Limited
- HOK UK Limited
Program, Project and Cost Management Services
- Aecom Limited & Mace Limited (Joint Venture)
- Capita Property Infrastructure Limited & Gleeds Cost Management Limited (Joint Venture)
- CH2M Hill UK Limited
- EC Harris (ARCADIS LLP)
- Turner & Townsend
The firms have until February 17 to submit their proposals.