Houses of Parliament

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Parliament, Houses of (London). The competition for the Houses of Parliament was won in 1836 by Sir Charles Barry in the required ‘Gothic or Elizabethan’ style. Construction started in 1840, but the building was incomplete when Barry died 20 years later and was finished 1860–70 by his son Edward Middleton Barry (1830–80). The plan is clear and formal, with the House of Commons and House of Lords on either side of an axis. Yet the external composition is medieval, not to say picturesque, partly due to the Victoria Tower and the Clock Tower (housing Big Ben), and to the turrets and central flèche which disguise heating and ventilation ducts. Much of the detail, including the richly embellished interiors, is by A. W. N. Pugin. The House of Commons and adjacent areas were destroyed in the Second World War but rebuilt by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and Adrian Scott in a Gothic manner.

Peter Willis

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Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) First large-scale public building of the Gothic revival in Britain. After a fire destroyed the old Palace of Westminster, Charles Barry won a competition for its replacement. Together with Augustus Pugin, a passionate Gothic specialist, he created a building that combined a functional plan and modern technology with Gothic detail. The Palace was finished in 1868.