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Architects to solve political crisis: AJ Common of Houses competition

The Architects’ Journal launches a new design contest - judged by Ken Livingstone and Ruth Reed - in a bid to solve the controversy over MPs’ second homes

The ‘Common of Houses’ competition calls on architects to produce two designs for ‘state-owned, temptation-free’ housing for MPs - a bespoke constituency home and communal Westminster accommodation.

The competition was conceived by Scottish design duo Hole in my Pocket, and is hosted at and follows in the wake of the Daily Telegraph’s expenses scandal probe.

The site’s creators explain: ‘The MPs expense fiasco continues to roll on, with MPs dropping like overfed flies and each party trying to outdo each other in the drastic reforms that they advise are required to fix the broken system.

‘We put our heads together, had a little think and an obvious solution popped into our heads. Instead of each MP having to go out and buy two homes, one in London for their Westminster duties and one in their constituency for their day to day work, we could remove the whole problem with the State providing accommodation. No second home allowance required, no temptation to purchase duck islands, instead all homes are owned by us and the MPs can simply get on with their jobs, everyone’s a winner.’

For the constituency home, designers can choose to design a building for a specific MP, or a standard building which could be used throughout the country.

The Westminster accommodation must be a mass housing solution for all MPs when they are on duty in parliament. This could take the form of a giant hotel, student halls of residence or a prison ship moored on the Thames – all ideas welcome.

The competition runs from 4 June until 21 July - judges include AJ editor Kieran Long, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, RIBA President-elect Ruth Reed and developer Crispin Kelly.

Readers' comments (2)

  • A bloody marvellous idea. Of course there is always the Olympic village. Or Robin Hood Gardens. Or Battersea Power Station. And I hear the Design Museum will be empty in the future....

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  • Robin.

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