Professor Brian Cox OBE, said:
I’m thrilled to be opening the new Parliamentary Education Centre. Much like science, democracy is one of the necessary foundations of society. This new Centre draws on the fascinating history of UK democracy, bringing it to life with innovative technology and explaining its relevance to young people today. I hope many schoolchildren will be inspired by this fantastic new resource.
The Education Centre will allow 100,000 school children to visit Parliament each year and a total of 1 million over the next decade. The Centre combines state-of-the-art technology with an environmentally sustainable building to offer young people and schools a world class facility in which to learn about Parliament, democracy and political history.
Education learning experience
Made up of 5 unique learning spaces, the Centre will enhance the existing educational visits programme, offering workshops and resources designed to align with Key Stage requirements.
Each themed learning space (Commons, Lords, Monarchy, My Parliament, and Discovery) features important historical figures, brought to life using virtual reality technology. Wall coverings recreate the interiors of each Chamber, while embedded into the designs are trigger points that pupils activate for tablet-based augmented reality experiences. Students can virtually interact and learn from Winston Churchill, Charles the First, the Yeoman Usher and Queen Victoria.
The Discovery Space uses 360° projectors to create an immersive learning experience, bringing events to life in this cinema-style environment. As well as virtual chambers, a range of specially commissioned films chronicle significant moments in Parliament’s history. Shown using a series of interconnected projectors and directional sound technology, they demonstrate the relevance of that history today.
The design of the centre
Designed by architects Feilden+Mawson, in collaboration with renowned landscape architect Kim Wilkie, the Parliamentary Education Centre has been created to fit sympathetically with its surroundings. It has achieved a BREEAM rating of excellent for environmental sustainability.