Virtual tour of Portcullis House. Panorama of Portcullis House. Maps, travel, photos, videos.

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Portcullis House

POI: 51.501294, -0.124908
Portcullis House (PCH) is an office building in Westminster, London, UK, that was commissioned in 1992 and opened in 2001 to provide offices for 213 members of parliament and their staff. Part of the Parliamentary Estate, the building augments limited space in the Palace of Westminster and surroundings.
History and use
The architects, Michael Hopkins and Partners, published their design in 1993 and the existing buildings on the site were demolished in 1994. At the same time, London Underground was building the Jubilee Line Extension, including a new interchange station at Westminster tube station which occupies the same area; the two were thus designed and built as a single unit. Construction began with works to the existing District line station at sub-basement level. The track had to be lowered slightly and underpinned to allow the extensive excavation to the Jubilee line many feet below. The building above ground began to rise in 1998 and opened in 2001. It is located at the corner of Bridge Street and Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames. The building is named after the chained portcullis used to symbolise the Houses of Parliament on letterheads and official documents. Portcullis House accommodates about one third of members of parliament; other Members and Parliamentary departments have offices in the two Norman Shaw Buildings, at 1 Parliament Street, at 7 Millbank and in the Palace of Westminster itself. The first floor of Portcullis House is open to members of the public to allow attendance at Committee sessions. Throughout the rest of the building, as with the rest of the Parliamentary Estate, members of the public must remain with a passholder. The entrance is guarded by police, and all visitors must submit their bags and coats for X-raying, as well as passing through a metal detector and undergoing a body check. There is a Post Office branch within Portcullis House that is not open to the public.
Design
The building was designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners and incorporates Westminster tube station below it. A thick slab of concrete separates Portcullis House from the station, reportedly to defend against any underground bomb attacks. The load is borne by the walls, without interior posts. The corners of the building are hung from the roof using massive steel beams . The design life of 120 years meant that aluminium bronze was chosen for exposed metal on the roof and walls. The structure also includes Cornish granite and was the last contract to be manufactured at Merrivale Quarry on Dartmoor. The columns between the windows are constructed of Birchover Gritstone, supplied by Birchover Stone Ltd. of Derbyshire. The building's curious profile, with its rows of tall chimneys, is intended to recall the Victorian Gothic design of the Palace of Westminster and to fit in with the chimneys of the Norman Shaw Building next door. Portcullis House's chimneys are not used to expel fumes but are part of an unpowered air...   ... (English)
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