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Icon Annual Lecture 2020

Icon Annual Lecture 2020

The "Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme" will be the timely topic for this year's Icon Annual Lecture. We are delighted to bring together three speakers who will talk about the work being undertaken to balance the needs of a 21st century parliament with the care and preservation of a globally significant estate and its collections.

The earliest surviving elements of the estate include Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1099, but the present buildings were largely constructed in the mid nineteenth century, following the devastating 1834 fire that destroyed many of the earlier structures. An open design competition to rebuild the palace was won by Charles Barry, supported by Augustus Welby Pugin, and their iconic creation is now recognised as one of the finest examples of Victorian neo-Gothic architecture.

In addition to their key role as the seat of Government, the Houses of Parliament form part of the Palace of Westminster UNESCO World Heritage Site, which welcomes more than a million visitors annually. The Houses of Parliament are also home to a significant collection of working and decorative objects, adding a further layer of complexity to an already challenging project to repair and upgrade the building fabric and services.

Through a series of three interlinked talks, our speakers will consider the purpose and vision of the Restoration and Renewal Programme and will share their experiences of the incredible complexities of delivering one of the largest conservation projects to take place in the UK in recent decades.




The Icon Annual Lecture will run from 2pm to 4pm. It will be followed by Icon's Annual General Meeting, which is open to Icon members only.

Welcome and introductions
Sara Crofts, Chief Executive, Icon

Introduction to the Restoration and Renewal Programme
Andrew Piper, Design Director
Design Director Andy Piper will introduce the Programme with a brief history of how the project came to be, the strategic themes it is based on, the strategy for delivery and the estimated timeline.

Plans and vision for the Houses of Parliament
Julian Flannery, Lead Architect
Lead Architect Julian Flannery will introduce the architectural history of the palace along with the vision for the renewed palace. He will discuss the conservation of the interior of the palace and the collaboration between many different construction, engineering and heritage specialities which will need to come together to successfully deliver this programme.

Overview of the Heritage Decant Project
Aimee Sims ACR, Restoration and Renewal Programme Heritage Conservation Manager
Heritage Conservation Manager Aimee Sims ACR will explore what this programme means for the heritage collections, and the plan for decanting 25,000 accessioned objects and an unknown quantity of architectural fabric. She will discuss the opportunities the project offers for improving collections care and the development of an extensive conservation programme, as well as what this means for skills training and upskilling within the conservation industry. 




Julian Flannery has spent most of his career working in Birmingham where he was project architect for the Hippodrome Theatre with Associated Architects, Millennium Point with Nicholas Grimshaw and Selfridges department store with Future Systems. After establishing  his own architectural practice, Flannery & de la Pole, in 2004 he completed the largest community arts centre in the UK, The Public Building in West Bromwich, and was shortlisted for several international design competitions. His interest in historic buildings started with surveying Hampton Court Palace in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1986 and includes church conservation projects and the writing of Fifty English Steeples, which won the International Architecture Book of the Year Award at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair. 


Andrew is head of a multi-disciplinary internal Design Delivery team and the design lead and coordinator for the Client Advisory Services (CAS) consultants appointed by Parliament to complete the brief and concept design for the Palace and any supporting buildings. He was the programme lead for the procurement of the CAS contracts from inception to award. Prior to joining Parliament Andrew worked for an international engineering and multi-disciplinary consultancy practice (URS infrastructure & environment). In that organisation he managed the performance and workload of a multi disciplinary design team across a number of public sector frameworks. He was responsible for end to end delivery of many projects including all commercial matters. Over his career he has worked alongside and coordinated a full variety of professional disciplines.


Aimee graduated with an MA in Conservation from Queen’s University, Canada in 2014. She gained experience interning at the Birmingham Museums Trust and Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), moving from treatment conservation to preventive conservation. Following her graduation, she worked for the National Trust at Claydon House before returning to HRP to work across Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens, Kensington Palace and The Tower of London. She gained considerable experience in organizing and running conservation friendly events in historic spaces as well as coordinating building works in historic spaces. Following on from HRP she moved to Eton College as the conservation lead, implementing a preventive and treatment conservation programme across their multiple collections. After gaining Icon Accreditation in 2019, she began work as the Heritage Collections Conservation Manager for the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme. She currently sits on the Icon Care of Collections Group committee as the Events Coordinator.



Icon members - Free
Non members - £15

Book ticket



Attending the lecture is free for Icon members - so if you're not yet a member this is a great time to join us. Becoming an Icon member also offers the perfect way to keep in touch with the conservation sector, enhance your knowledge and build your professional networks.



icon_-_approved_version_-_accredited_member_-_fit_to_artwork-01_4.jpg2020 marks the 20th Anniversary of Icon Accreditation. Throughout 2020 we will be celebrating the successes of professional conservators and highlighting the impact that Icon Accreditation has had on the conservation profession and for the care of our cultural heritage. Please click here to find out more >>