This is the first look inside the “floating parliament” on the Thames that could house MPs and peers during the years-long refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament.

London-based architects Gensler today unveiled plans for the 92,000 sq ft glass bubble perched on a purpose-built 820ft barge.

It would be home to both the Commons and Lords chambers, each of which would be recreated with their respective green and red leather benches, but also featuring a stunning glass ceiling over each.

The glass-clad structure would be built on steel platforms with a wooden frame and components would be made in shipyards around Britain. Gensler said the design was inspired by the Palace of Westminster, with the glass ceiling drawing on the design of the huge hammer-beam roof over the 900-year-old Westminster Hall.


Mr Mulcahey said the structure could also draw more tourists to the capital if the plan was approved by the Government.

The company believes that once politicians are able to return to the Houses of Parliament the structure could be converted into a museum or tourist attraction.

Mr Mulcahey said: “London is famous for its juxtaposition with ancient buildings next to shiny new ones, and this would encapsulate that idea perfectly. This is the only occasion when we could do this. It really is a unique moment in time.”


The favoured option is moving MPs to the Department of Health building in Whitehall, while peers would go to the Queen Elizabeth Conference centre, but Ian Mulcahey, managing director of Gensler, said: “We just want parliament to seriously consider this as an option.

“We thought, ‘Why not create a temporary parliament on the river and give a sense of continuity for the Government, rather than having one House in a bunker somewhere and another in a courtyard somewhere else?’ People will be able to continue taking selfies in front of Parliament.”


The Royal Gallery and Central Lobby would also be relocated to the project during the £4 billion repair work to the Palace of Westminster, which is unlikely to begin until after 2020. The Government has yet to indicate whether the Gensler design will be considered, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Standard that he thought the idea “had merit”.