The Reichstag of Berlin is irremediably linked to the history of the city. Its construction started on 1884 by architect Paul Wallot due to the need to have a building that would shelter the Parliament of the German Empire. Completed on 1894, the building was highly acclaimed because of the glass dome and the steel that topped the roof, even taller than the actual dome, a great engineering work for that time.
When the war was over, the capital of western Germany would move to Bonn, losing its use as a Parliament, even so the decision to restore the building was made.
In the year of 1933, during the Nacional Socialist regime, a fire of doubtful circumstances was generated that left it in lamentable conditions, the Parliament moved, and it was no longer used for future sessions. During World War II, after successive bombings, its deterioration increased. When the war was over, the capital of western Germany would move to Bonn, losing its use as a Parliament, even so the decision to restore the building was made. Paul Baumgartner would be the one in charge of its reconstruction between 1961 and 1964.
With the German reunification in 1990 eventually Berlin would again be Germany’s capital and consequently the Reichstag would become object of debate about its future.
In 1992 another contest is opened for the reconstruction of the building, Sir Norman Foster was the one chosen for its execution. His project starts from four premises: the meaning of the Bundestag as a democratic forum, the commitment with public accessibility, respect for its history, and its sustainability. This way, it is evident that transparency is what evokes this project, its only access to the building is the same for politics and general public, and as a matter of fact it is possible to observe the Parliament sessions through a glass. Foster decided to respect the buildings original structure, nevertheless, its entire interior was modified and the addition of the new dome is the main point of its renovation. The original project of Foster did not include any dome, nevertheless despite being chosen as the one in charge for the reform, his project was not convincing and he had to yield to public opinion and change the design to a walkable dome that was finally approved.
The steel structure and glass have a diameter of forty meters, a height of twenty-three and a half meters and a weight of eighty tons supported by twelve reinforced concrete columns.
The steel structure and glass have a diameter of forty meters, a height of twenty-three and a half meters and a weight of eighty tons supported by twelve reinforced concrete columns. Its shell is composed by twenty-four steel profiles at fifteen degree intervals of fifteen degrees and covered by more than three thousand square meters of glass. Towards the top of the dome you will find an observation platform forty meters from the ground, accessible through two ramps, one to go up and the other to go down, that are located in the circular perimeter
of the dome. However, the most interesting part of the dome is the inverted cone of two meters and a half that crowns the plenary hall, giving an indirect natural light. The used air is canalized from inside the funnel and expelled outside by an opening at the top of the dome. Foster’s reform meets the required functions on the environmental issue. The heating system and energy supply system is a combination of solar energy, the use of water reserves to heat or cool the building and of mechanic ventilation, this way the Reichstag is self-sufficient by 82%, it even supplies energy to other neighboring public buildings, becoming an example of sustainable architecture.
Since its inauguration in 1999, the dome of Reichstag has been the symbol and reference point for Berlin and Germany, currently it is the second most visited monument in the country, the Cathedral of Colony being the first. Curiously the entire building was turned into an art installation by the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne- Claude in 1995 called Wrapped Reichstag, which consisted in wrapping the Reichstag with a giant cloth for two weeks, which attracted millions of visitors.
From its superior platform, and from the roof of the Parliament itself, it is possible to have a 360° view of Berlin. The entrance is free; the only requirement to complete is an exhaustive security check-up. The entry time is at 8:00 until 22:00, we have to keep in mind that the lines to go in are usually really long, in my case more than one hour.
How to get there?
Taking the S-Bahn line (urban and commuter rail system, different from the metro U- Bahn line), arrive to the Brandenburg Tor station (S1 and S2) and from there take a walk of about 600 meters on the Unter den Linden avenue, passing through the Brandenburg Gate. At this point we are in front of the Tiergarten and from there it is possible to view the Reichstag. Another option to take is the U55 line that connects the train stations (Berlin Hauptbahnhof) with Brandenburg Tor and get off at the intermediate Bundestag station.
How this Virtual Tour was made
The equipment used to perform virtual tour are the following:
- Nikon D810 DSLR Camera
- Lens Sigma 8 mm Fisheye
- Nodal Ninja NN4 Tripod Head
- Manfrotto 190 Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Remote Switch
The software processing of the image was
- Lightroom to process RAW files
- PTGui for stitching images
- Photoshop general and local settings
- PanoTour Pro for generating virtual tour
The dome, redesigned by the architect Norman Foster for the reconstruction of the building, it aims to be a symbolic element with which it is clear that this place is the center of the Parliament democracy and, the town, from the superior part, it can be seen that all matters are brought clearly.
In the interior of the dome, you can see many old photographs through which the history of the Parliament is described through its most important moments.
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Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa
Traducción al idioma inglés realizada por la Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa a través del Centro de Estudio de Idiomas Culiacán. English language translation made by Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa through the collaboration of Centro de Estudio de Idiomas Culiacán