Palace of Westminster


Charles Barry, 1795–1860, and Augustus Pugin, 1812–52

London, UK; 1836–68

In 1834 the old Palace of Westminster burnt down and there was a contest to replace it, calling for entries in Gothic or Elizabethan style, for nationalistic reasons. Charles Barry’s design won because it proposed a rational organization of the main elements and reconciled this with surviving elements of the old building, such as the medieval Westminster Hall, which had powerful symbolic value. Barry adopted a style known as Perpendicular Gothic, taking its cue from Henry VII’s extension of Westminster Abbey, across the road from the main public entrance ...

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