About the building
Parliament Buildings was designed by architect Sir Arnold Thornley of Liverpool. He designed the Portland stone building to be 365ft wide, representing one foot for every day of the year. It is a Grade-B listed building, designed in Greek Classical tradition.
The grounds of Stormont Estate (224 acres at the time of purchase) cost approximately £20,000 and the cost of constructing Parliament Buildings came close to £1.7 million. During construction, Parliament sat in Belfast City Hall and the Union Theological College until 16 November 1932 when Parliament Buildings was officially opened by the Prince of Wales.
Original plans for Parliament Buildings actually involved three separate buildings to include law courts, a parliamentary building, and an administrative block. However, due to rising costs early in the project, the original plans were changed and only one building was constructed. This explains why it is called 'Parliament Buildings' (plural) even though it is single standalone building. The intended sites for the other two buildings are clearly visible today, these are the lower terraces in front, and to either side of Parliament Buildings.
Parliament Buildings is one of the best-known and most striking pieces of architecture in Northern Ireland. Representing the number of counties in Northern Ireland, the building has six floors and there are six pillars at the entrance.
Architect Arnold Thornley later received a Knighthood from George V in recognition of his architectural work.