With all of the recent protests going on, it's clear that the people want to be heard, but unfortunately most of our government buildings are designed like impenetrable fortresses to keep the hoi polloi disconnected from the goings-on inside. Frustrated with this broken system, Australian architect Andrew Maynard has designed a mobile and adaptable parliament structure, which allows the people to directly manipulate the building to show their approval or disapproval. Mob-ile Parliament is an exercise in democratic architecture and when the people are displeased with the government, they can literally push the building in and cut off light and views as a symbolic gesture of their unhappiness. A truly revolutionary concept, if you ask us!
Maynard acknowledges that the safety of our officials is still important, so we can’t eliminate security completely. So how can we allow people to show their dissatisfaction in a safe way that still gets the point across? The basic concept of Maynard’s Mob-ile Parliament is made up of a long, flat, tube-like building with an inner core surrounded by a series of rings. When things are good and the people are pleased with how their officials are doing, they get to enjoy the sun and views streaming through the windows. When the people are displeased, they can shut the building down and manipulate it so there are no views or daylight coming in. Although almost totally symbolic, the gesture is meant to convey a message – that it’s time to get serious, get to work and come up with a solution.
The parliament building allows government officials inside and gives free reign to the public and media surrounding the building. Officials have to walk a long, winding pathway to gain access inside, but this also gives the media more of a chance to engage with those in power and hear what they have to say. Real-time displays of public opinion are broadcast on the side of the building so all can see what the mood of the nation is. Finally, when the public is displeased enough, they can join together to literally push the building closed, shutting off light and views to the interior.
“What if parliament could be manipulated by the masses?” explains Maynard of his design. “What if parliament’s spatial condition is changeable by those that are dissatisfied and marginalized as well as those that are pleased with the contributions of elected representatives? The abrupt, confrontational nature of direct physical interaction is what drives the Mobile Parliament. Though safe within, the politician’s access to view and light can be democratically controlled by the public.”