The People’s Palace: German Architects Say Buckingham Palace Could Fit 50,000 Londoners

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

German design team Opposite Office have unveiled a wild solution to London’s housing crisis: convert Buckingham Palace’s 775 rooms into a multi-story apartment building that could possibly house up to 50,000 people. Today, many Londoners struggle to find affordable housing in a city that has exploded for businesses but has yet to adequately address its growing rent problems.

The opposite of freedom is captivity. Captivity doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. Captivity can also be in our head. Monarchy is something that we associate with captivity. The monarchy in Great Britain is not oppressive but it is still a sign of power and the old days of royalty – days when the difference between social classes was very present. In London, as in other big cities, there is an extreme lack of housing, but the symbol of kingship, extravagance, wealth and wast remain. We understand this as a contradiction and want to blur these boundaries. Blur, to be truly free, because living space for all is freedom!” – Opposite Office Architecture Firm

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Floorplan of updated Buckingham Palace 

Buckingham Palace was first constructed in 1703 and is home to the monarch and administrators. The Palace has stood as a site for mourning and celebration through the four centuries that it has stood in Westminster.

To make space for so many Londoners, certain amenities would have to be curbed. Namely, the projected space would feature no corridors and folding screen walls would be used to divide the floorplan. The architectural drawings also include shared common spaces between single and double bedrooms.

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Architectural drawings of converted Buckingham Palace

The project also includes a projected addition that would sit above the Palace and over 8 staircases that would provide access throughout the converted space. Opposite Office’s co-founder Benedikt Hartl penned a letter to the Queen which read in part: “The refurbishment and extension of the Buckingham Palace will draw great media attention to the issue of affordable housing, whilst improving the social standing of Buckingham Palace.”

Designers throughout England and Europe have been working towards a solution for London’s housing crisis. Engineering firm WSP has suggested that as many as 280,000 homes could be built above unused space along the railroads of London and Cube Haus has proposed modular homes for awkward spaces throughout the city.

Still no insight as to whether prospective renters would get to the keep the guards.


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