UCL Grand Challenges


Parliament Buildings Conference: The architecture of power, accountability and democracy in Europe

12 November 2020–19 February 2021, 9:00 am–3:00 pm

Image of parliament building

Two-part conference hosted by the Bartlett School of Architecture and the UCL European Institute, supported by UCL's Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Prof Sophia Psarra

Free and open to all, the conference runs over two sets of two (short) days; the first session is taking place on 12-13 November 2020, and the second on 18-19 February, 2021.

Parliament buildings and their spatial structures are the symbols and instruments of political life. They shape and reflect political practices, processes and culture, both within and without."

The conference brings together a brilliant line up of architects and parliamentarians, art historians, architecture scholars, historians, geographers, anthropologists and political scientists. They will share their unique insights into specific parliament buildings across Europe, to jointly explore:

  • How do buildings and space structure the work done in parliaments, how do they shape political decision making and informal communication?
  • How can they be used to embody imaginations of democracy and the body politic?
  • What can they tell us about the agency of, say, women or parliamentary staff in parliament? 
  • How is their role changing in times of constant broadcasting, social media and a global pandemic? 

Visit the conference website to find out more and to register

This conference is organised by Sophia Psarra, Professor of Architecture and Spatial Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture, in collaboration with the UCL European Institute. It is part of a wider project encompassing further research, a book and a film.