Lift New Parliament

The Architecture Foundation and Lift, London International Festival of Theatre, launched an open international competition to design the Lift New Parliament, a transportable meeting and performance space, which will open at the Lift Festival in June 2008.

The competition process was anonymous until the short-list was revealed for the final stage interviews. The jury unanimously selected AOC's scheme as the winning project.

The short-listed schemes by AOC with Momentum; Blee & Tite; Wong-Wai Pui with Arup; muf architecture/art with Atelier One.

Rowan Moore comments:

"LIFT's New Parliament project raises provocative issues about the role of architecture in supporting public engagement with public space, and promises to do so in a particularly smart and intriguing way. Their idea was rewarded by an entry in the competition that showed a rich range of possibilities. AOC's project stood out for the way in which it addressed all the principal requirements of the brief, in particular the need for a design that could evolve in response to LIFT's participatory processes. We could see how it could develop over time as different people make different contributions to it. We also felt it would be both beautiful and practical."


Lift New Parliament

“I believe that the Lift New Parliament is one of the most innovative and important cultural developments for London in the coming decade.”
Jude Kelly OBE, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre, who will host the Lift New Parliament in June 2008

London is the most culturally diverse city in the world. Around two million of its seven million dwellers were born outside the UK. Bengali, Cantonese, Polish, Arabic… between us we speak 300 languages.

Lift, the London International Festival of Theatre, started out 25 years ago, bringing the best of international theatre to London and exploring what theatre can be. It has been a window on the world.

But now Lift has a new idea and, as a global meeting place, London can make it happen.


Competition Objective

The Lift New Parliament is a flexible and easily transportable structure providing a meeting and performance space. This is a competition to find the design team for this structure.

The final design of the structure will be achieved through a participatory process involving the design team with an invited group of participants from east London boroughs.

The Lift New Parliament will open in June 2008 as the centrepiece of the Lift Festival. Once open, it will travel throughout London, nationally and internationally.

The Architecture Foundation and Lift invite participants to suggest inspiring, innovative yet realistic designs for this new temporary structure which will provide a new concept in meeting space.

The budget for the design and fit-out of the structure is £400,000. 

We encourage entrants to bear the practical constraints of the project in mind. This is not an ideas competition


Competition Jury:

Rowan Moore, Director of The Architecture Foundation
Roma Patel, digital, media and theatre artist
Eric Reynolds, property developer, chief executive of Urban Space Management
Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive, The Glass-House Community Led Design
Subathra Subramaniam, choreographer
Steve Tompkins, architect and partner in Haworth/Tompkins
Angharad Wynne-Jones, Director of Lift
Rachel Bagshaw, Theatre Director

Advisory group:

Clare Cooper, Lift Board member
Andy Hayles,Charcoalblue
Tim Norman, Edwin Shirley Staging
Gary Stoakes, Jackson Coles
AF Staff
Lift staff

In addition, the public will be invited to contribute their view by means of an online vote.


The competition is open to (but not limited to) architects, designers, artists, product designers, portable space designers and/or any other disciplines. Given the importance of engineering in the project, Lift and the Architecture Foundation encourage entrants to work in teams of designers and engineers.
The competition is open to UK and to non-UK designers with a UK base. The winning team will need to have an ongoing presence in London and travel at their own expense.

Competition process
The competition will be an open anonymous competition, following which a shortlist of 4 teams will make presentations to participants from east London boroughs, and be interviewed by members of the jury and advisory group.

Competition timetable
Monday 8 May 2006 Competition begins (9:00 am)
Friday 16 June 2006 Deadline for submissions (12:00 noon)
Friday 23 June 2006 Shortlist announced
24-30 June 2006 Public voting online
Presentations to invited group of participants from east London boroughs date TBC
Monday 3 July 2006 Shortlist interviews
Friday 7 July 2006 Winner announced

Competition honoraria
Four shortlist teams will receive £1,500 each and will prepare for interview.

Registration is online at There is no registration fee.

Submission format
3 A3 boards and a 400-word (max) design statement.

Registration sheet should provide all practice contact details in a sealed envelope.
No practice name should appear on this envelope or on any of the submitted boards.

LIFT / London International Festival of Theatre

Lift recently collaborated with Artichoke on The Sultan’s Elephant, a large piece of free theatre in central London from 4-7 May 2006.

Lift would like to thank Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, both of whom have confirmed project funding for the Lift New Parliament and its associated programme of community engagement.
Paul HamlynArts Council England