Reichstag, New German Parliament

Foster + Partners, Berlin, 1999


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View of the cupola  

Nigel Young     Download Original

  • View of the cupola     
  • View of light sculptor    
  • Catching light and drawing it into the building    
  • Visitors inside the dome    
  • Visitors can enjoy views across Berlin from the cupola    
  • Visitors can view into the parliamentary seating    
  • View down into the parliamentary seating    
  • Natural light floods the parliamentary seating    
  • Parliamentary session in progress    
  • Detail of solar panels    
  • Visitors enjoy the terrace    
  • Modern materials are combined with the existing    
  • Graffiti has been preserved    
  • View of internal stairway    
  • Detail of the original damaged structure    
  • Parts of the damaged building are preserved    
  • The building is transparent, visitors can view the parliamentary procedings    
  • Natural lighting is used throughout the building    
  • The cupola becomes a beacon at night    
  • Exterior shell has been preserved    
  • Basement two floor plan    
  • Basement floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Roof and cupola plan    
  • Long section    
  • Short section    
  • Cupola and light sculptor section    
  • Existing - Basement two plan    
  • Existing - Basement plan    
  • Existing - Ground floor plan    
  • Existing - First floor plan    
  • Existing - Second floor plan    
  • Exisiting - Third floor plan     
  • Existing - Roof plan    
  • Initial cupola concept sketch    
  • Cupola sketch idea    
  • Cupola environmental sketch    
  • Sunlight reflector detail     

Rebuilding of the German Parliament building in a transparent manner, replacing the original dome with a glass cupola to allow the process of governing to be observed

The transformation is rooted in four issues: the significance of the Bundestag as a democratic forum; a commitment to public accessibility; a sensitivity to history; and a rigorous environmental agenda.

Within the masonry shell the scheme is transparent, opening up the interior to light and placing its activities on view. Public and politicians enter through the same entrance. The public realm continues on the roof in the terrace restaurant and the cupola where helical ramps lead to an observation platform, allowing the people to ascend above the heads of their elected representatives in the chamber.

The building uses renewable bio-fuel which reduces its carbon dioxide emissions. Surplus heat is stored as hot water in a tank 300 metres below ground, and can be used to heat or to drive an absorption cooling plant to produce chilled water. The cupola is used in the lighting and ventilation strategies. A light sculptor reflects light into the chamber, with a moveable sun-shield blocking solar gain and glare. At night, this process is reversed.


  • Begun: Jul 1995
  • Completed: Apr 1999
  • Floor area: 61,000m2
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £260M
  • Address: Platz der Republik, Berlin, 10557, Germany

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