For more than thirty years, Berlin's Reichstag remained in ruins and left untouched after the aftermath of WWII. The Reichstag was gutted by a major fire in 1933, then further damaged by the advancement of the Soviet forces to the city as well as the damage inflicted upon the city by the Allied bombing towards the end of the war. Following the division of Germany in 1945, the Reichstag was left in ruins until it was reopened as a conference center in the 1960s. It was not until after the reunification of Germany in 1989 that the will to renovate the Reichstag came about. A special commission was held in 1992 that would choose a design that would rejuvenate the home of the newly unified German Parliament.
Foster and Partners won the commission with a design that would make the processes of the German government more transparent for the people. Foster's design features a dome comprised of a glass structure with gleaming metal that includes a ramp that spirals up a to a roof terrace that offers panoramic views of central Berlin.
"The Reichstag's cupola is also crucial to its lighting and ventilation strategies. At its core a 'light sculpture' reflects horizon light into the chamber; a movable sun shield blocks solar gain and glare. As night falls, this process is reversed. The cupola becomes a beacon, signalling the strength and vigour of the German democratic process." - http://www.fosterandpartners.com
This image was taken in 2001 by John P. Schooley, FAIA, during the 'Berlin: Building the New City' tour. This tour was planned for architects and planners so that they could see first-hand how this once-divided city emerged from the Cold War to become a leading commercial and cultural center in Europe.
Keywords: Germany, German, views, public_access buildings. Submitted by John Schooley, FAIA.