Norman Foster calls for design competition for northern House of Lords


Michael Langley


July 16, 2020

Norman Foster has proposed having an architectural competition to design a new home for the UK parliament’s upper chamber, if it is relocated from London to York.

“If the House of Lords is to be relocated north we must use the power of architecture to express our political and economic ambitions,” Foster said in a letter to British newspaper The Times.

To create that building Foster states that “an architectural competition, backed by a clear brief, would be the place to start”.

He wrote the letter in response to plans by the UK government to explore the possibility of permanently moving the House of Lords from London to a city in the north of England.

It was reported last week that UK prime mister Boris Johnston has asked officials to investigate the practicalities of moving parliament’s upper chamber outside of London, with York being the frontrunner.

“We should take our cue from the 19th century”

If the House of Lords is relocated, Foster believes that the UK should look to the past and especially the process that led to the creation of current home of the UK parliament – the Palace of Westminster.

“We should take our cue from the 19th century, which understood how great buildings could demonstrate confidence in our future,” said his letter.

“After parliament burnt down in 1834, Britain applied its finest minds to creating a replacement. The process, overseen by Prince Albert as chairman of the Royal Fine Art Commission, gave us the magnificent Palace of Westminster.”

Norman Foster

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