Floating Parliament
©Studio Octopi

Studio Octopi

In 1963, three new Woolwich Ferries were launched. In 2018 these TfL owned ferries were decommissioned. HMS Parliament was a 2017 proposal for the relocation of the two chambers to the decommissioned Woolwich ferries during the palace restoration works. Once it was established that each chamber could comfortably fit on a ferry, the team developed working designs for the reuse of these publicly owned assets. The proposals identified an achievable, affordable and a sustainable response to relocating parliament.

The proposals were costed by Jackson Coles and came out substantially cheaper than any of the other publicised options for a temporary Parliament. The designs were subject to a preliminary consultation with the Port of London Authority and MPs.

With simple dry dock alterations it was established that each ferry could carry up to 1100T, significantly more than in their original operation. The parliamentary offices located on the central ferry could be prefabricated from steel and timber lightweight modules, transported by river and craned directly onto the ferry hulls from barges for rapid assembly. The modules could come fully-clad and be designed to be demounted and redeployed after parliament’s use. The Lords and Commons chambers will be formed from elegantly expressed hybrid construction all erected on the ferries outside the palace. Again, these could be detailed to permit dismantling and future reuse as a community or school assembly building.

Securewest International recommended that the security plan for HMS Parliament be an extension of the current physical and information security plan/measures for the Houses of Parliament. Initial security considerations were taken into account by the design team in drawing up the concept, reflected in the employment of a boom, no low level external access and other structural measures.

Architect: Studio Octopi

Marine Engineer: Beckett Rankine

Structural Engineer: Expedition

Naval Architect: Houlder

Quantity Surveyor: Jackson Coles

Risk Management: Securewest International

©Studio Octopi
©Studio Octopi
©Studio Octopi
©Studio Octopi

November 17, 2020