The Bartlett School of Architecture


Parliament Buildings International Conference 2020

12 November 2020–13 November 2020, 9:00 am–3:00 pm

General view of the interior of The Commons Chamber at the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photograph by Justin Tallis. 

‘Parliament Buildings’ is a virtual conference and book exploring the architecture of power, accountability and democracy in Europe.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Sophia Psarra


In the face of ongoing political change, confidence in democracy is threatened, calling upon us to rethink our institutions and the buildings in which they are accommodated. Parliament buildings are the symbols and instruments of political life. They shape political culture and the space where the government is held to account; their architecture, history and rituals say a lot about norms of governance and behaviour. With the wide adoption of television coverage and social media, these buildings project political culture outward, changing the scale and speed of communication between citizens and the parliament.

The conference brings together contributions from architecture as well as from political science and political theory, history, law, geography and associated disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It is part of a wider research project, supported by UCL’s Grand Challenges of Cultural Understanding (GCCU), which will result in a publication and a short film.



Thursday 12 November

  • 09:00: Introduction and welcome
  • 09:30: Presentation by David Mulder, XML Architectures
  • 10:30: Session: 'Rhythms of Space and Time.' Moderator: David Roberts (The Bartlett). Panellists: Emma Crewe (SOAS), Jonathan Chibois (IIAC-LAIOS), Philip Norton (University of Hull), and Christian Rosen (Technical University of Darmstadt).
  • 11:30: Panel discussion
  • 11:45: Break
  • 12:00: Session: 'A Contemporary Parliament in a Historical Building.' Moderator: Sophia Psarra (The Bartlett). Panellists: Alexandra Meakin (University of Manchester), Alexandra Anderson (Sheffield Methods Institute), and Alex Prior (UEA). 
  • 12:45: Panel discussion
  • 13:00: Session: 'Gendered Space and Agency.' Moderator: Uta Staiger, Director of UCL European Institute. Panellists: Sarah Childs (Royal Holloway); Henrik Schoenefeldt (University of Kent); Mari Takayanagi (UK Parliamentary Archives). 
  • 13:45: Panel discussion

Friday 13 November 

  • 10:00: Session: 'The Material Culture of Parliaments.' Moderator: Uta Staiger, Director of UCL European Institute. Panellists: Patrick Theiner, (University of Edinburgh), Julia Schwanholz (University of Duisburg), Carla Hoetink (Radboud University), Sophia Psarra (The Bartlett) and Gustavo Maldonado (Architect). 
  • 10.45: Panel discussion
  • 11:00: Session: 'Political Transitions and Paradoxical Power.' Moderator: Claudia Sternberg, UCL European Institute. Panellists: Michal Murawski and Ben Noble (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies), Iulia Statica (The Bartlett), Gruia Badescu (University of Konstanz), 
    Emilia Kaleva and Aneta Vasileva (University of Architecture, Civil Eng. and Geodesy).
  • 11:45: Panel discussion
  • 12:00: Break
  • 12:15: Session: 'Mediated Parliament and Digital Interactions.' Moderator: Alan Penn (The Bartlett). Panellists: James Benedict Brown (Umeå University), Pol Esteve, Architectural Association (AA), Dennis Pohl (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), and Ben Worthy and Stefani Langehennig, (Birkbeck College).
  • 13:00Panel discussion
  • 13:15: Presentation by Jonas Staal, Studio Jonas Staal
  • 14:00: Roundtable: David Mulder and Jonas Staal. Moderator: Mariana Pestana.

For full details, visit the Parliament Buildings Conference website.

Image: General view of the interior of The Commons Chamber at the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photograph by Justin Tallis.