The Georgeand Houses of Parliament are the meeting place for the Parliament of Georgeland. The Houses of Parliament are formally known as The Whitney Building in honour of its lead designer, Charles Whitney; this designation is almost never used, however.
The Houses were constructed from 1909-1910, and formally opened as the seat of Georgeland's parliament on April 15, 1911. The building was opened by HRH the Princess Royal (Princess Louise, King George V's sister), and dedicated to King George V. Parliament formally sat there two months later, in a ceremony presided over by the Governor-General Baron Grimm.
The building is constructed in a style described as Second Empire. It is similar in design to the legislature of Quebec; this is because the designer of that building, Eugène-Étienne Taché, worked for a time on the Houses in their initial design phase.
The Houses of Parliament are located on Parliament Street in Topstad. Unlike many parliament buildings, they do not occupy a particularly prominent position in the city's design; however, they remain a common tourist destination, and the buildings are open to the public every day except Christmas Day, with special exhibitions held from time to time.
The Houses of Parliament contain 784 rooms, some of which are small and cramped. There have been several expansions to the building over the years. By 2010, renovations to the nearby Pearce Building will be complete, and the offices of many Members of Parliament and Senators will transfer to the new building.
The building's design is symmetrical, with the northern side of the building devoted to the House of Commons and the southern side to the Senate. MPs and Senators each have an office on the appropriate side - the Prime Minister's office, however, is located in the centre, towards the back of the building. The PM's office is a new addition to the building; it was added during extensive refurbishments in 1985. Previously, the Prime Minister used a smaller office in the northern wing, now occupied by the Chief Whip.
The public hub of the Houses of Parliament is the Great Hall, which was called King George Hall until 1932. The Great Hall is accessible to the public and is the only area, apart from the foyer and viewing galleries, that ordinary members of the public, and tourists, may visit unaccompanied. From 1910 until 1930, a statue of King George V dominated the Great Hall. It has since been removed, and the empty plinth now stands in the hall, the inscription still in place. The rear wall of the room is covered by a large tapestry. The Great Hall contains the official portraits of Georgeland's Prime Ministers, except for portraits of Michael Elderton, Michael Fisch, Campbell Rhodes and Zoe Parker, who have not yet had their offical portraits added. Official portraits of Georgeland's Presidents are kept elsewhere, though a large painting of the current President (Charlotte Lang since 2004) is displayed prominently.
House of Commons
The Commons chamber is coloured green, and modelled very closely on its British counterpart. Initially built to accomodate 100 members, the size of the Commons has increased several times, requiring renovations to add more seating. The last such effort was in 1985. The Commons now seats up to 360 members; there are presently only 261 MPs.
The Commons chamber has a public viewing gallery above it, accessible from the Great Hall. The gallery above the Speaker's Chair is used by members of the press corps.
Like its British counterpart, the House of Lords, the Senate chamber is red in colour. It has the same physical dimensions as the House of Commons, but fewer seats. Though the Senate at present numbers 80 members, the Senate chamber can seat twice that number. This has caused problems during joint sessions, always held in the Senate; these problems, however, are minor.
Like the Commons, there are viewing galleries above the Senate Chamber.