Portcullis House Westminster

Architect Michael Hopkins and Partners

Engineer Ove Arup & Partners

Client House of Commons, Palace ofWestminster

Tube. The main entrance to the building itself is from the river side, on the Embankment. At ground level the courtyard has an enclosed area with a vaulted glazed roof, where MPs can congregate and meet their constituents. Two rows of trees create an avenue with a central water feature, all enlivened by excellent daylighting.

At the first floor level are housed meeting rooms and rooms for public select committees, whilst support facilities are housed at the lower ground level.

The building is not air conditioned, and the brief for the building required that the energy consumption should be only one third of that for a traditional air-conditioned building. The section through the window (see fourth plan) indicates the triple glazed window used for

The history of the site for the new Parliamentary Building -or as it is now called, Portcullis House-goes back several decades; the architect Michael Hopkins's involvement started in 1989 with a space audit of the accommodation which might be required for Members of Parliament. It was not until the interchange for the newJubilee Line extension at Westminster Underground was approved, that this paved the way for a radical new approach to the site; in which the new Parliamentary Building was conceived as an integral planning and structural solution together with a much enlarged underground station.

Located in a world heritage site, placed between Pugin's Houses of Parliament and Norman Shaw's Scotland Yard, the site posed many problems which required a unique solution to provide 210 individual offices for Members of Parliament, with all the associated ancillary accommodation; together with a pedestrian connection under Bridge Street to 'the House' to enable Members of Parliament to react swiftly to the division bell.

The daylighting strategy is determined by the plan, in which the MPs' offices are arranged around a hollow rectangular courtyard, with rooms on four floors for the MPs, which look outwards or inwards to the courtyard; rooms have balconies and french windows with rooms to the outside having their own bay window.

The public face of the building at street level presents a colonnade to Bridge Street, containing shops and the entrance to the

Plans Masse Jardins Paysager

Street level plan. Shows central covered courtyard

Street level plan. Shows central covered courtyard

Plan at 2nd-4th level showing the MPs' rooms
Plan of a pair of MPs' rooms with intermediate staff

the Members' rooms. The windows, together with the internal blind system, were modelled as part of an EU Joule 1 1 study together with the suggested system of ventilation in a mock-up in Southern Italy in accelerated tests to prove the method of daylighting and ventilation.

The window detail shows a projecting light shelf which bounces natural light on to the white concrete arched ceiling into the interior ofthe room, and although research suggests that this does not increase the 'level' of daylight in a space, it assists its distribution, whilst at the same time acting as solar shading.

Clerestoreys above the bookcases at the rear of the room allow daylight to escape from the interior of the Members' rooms to enliven the internal corridor beyond what would otherwise be a totally artificially lit space.

Closed Cavity Facade Drawings
Section through atypical window to a Member's room
Masonry Portcullis House

Energy section. Ventilation to MPs' room

Energy section. Ventilation to MPs' room


«wigy section

Diagram relating the daylighting to the system of ventilation

Exterior of the building, to show the colonnading to Bridge Street

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