Case Study 122 The Reichstag Berlin 1998

Architects: Foster and Partners

The refurbishment of the derelict German parliament building has enabled Foster and Partners to rebuild the domes as a giant viewing bubble. The visitor is taken directly by lift to the main roof terrace where the dome is entered; the ascent to the top is via a ramp cantilevered from the steel ribs of the structure. As one rises, the panoramic views over the city, and in par ticular the Chancellery and Brandenburg Gate, grow more and more spectacular. From the platform at the top one looks down through the internal mirrored glass lantern to the debating chamber below. This lantern also serves to reflect daylight into the building. Once rested, the visitor returns by a second ramp, the down ramp.

The view from the ground when looking up is of little ant-like people circumnavigating the dome. The effect is even greater at dusk when the colours from the sky show the ramps and figures in silhouette.

Figure 12.2a Section (Architecture Today, May 1999)

Figure 12.2b Ramp at dusk

Figure 12.2b Ramp at dusk

Figure 12.2c Detail of ramp support

Figure 12.3a Looking up the stair

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