Reichstag – Berlin, Germany – Norman Foster and Partners

This is a short series of the Reichstag Dome.

During university years in the 90’s we students became aware that something was changing. I remembered hearing about this advanced and courageous intervention that Norman Foster and Partners Studio won in a competition in 1992. It was something never seen. After 30 years I finally got the chance to see it during my visit in Berlin.

You can see it from afar, it tops the Reichstag building, and can notice this interesting transparent element over an 18 th century building. It is pleasant looking. I had this simple thought, and decided to sign up for the interiors visit. It is a not so obvious procedure as you are actually entering a government building, so it is also scheduled by appointment.

Once managed to get inside and pass all the necessary controls a polite guide accompanies you to a transparent elevator which rises right up to the roof level….as the elevator doors opened and right after an immediate turn towards the main dome foyer, the real joy started !

It is truly an architectural wonder a magical space full of harmony and symbolism as well! Gracious proportions between interior and exterior, balance between high and low, in and out, people and government, technology and environment.

Once you enter the dome, the presence of the spiraling pathway twisting upwards immediately invites you to become an observer and start a meditative three-dimensional walk….

While you walk upward along the spiral pathway, you actually continuously perceive the architectural space from different new angles, giving you an always updated perception of the designer intents.

While rising towards the rooftop you begin perceiving reality in a different and new way, therefore self awareness. You understand that you are part of a greater system like electrons moving along pathways inside a delicate and sophisticated positronic brain, a complex and delicate system at the same time. Information from every direction arrives and you slowly start understanding that you are part of an interconnected collectivity.

It is a brief journey through German, and yes, this planet’s history. It is a spatial and mental experience!

The Dome seen from inside is a surreal etheral swirl that must be patiently walked through. As you do so, your perspective and perception of space changes, through a constant variation of height, a dual vision between interior space and exterior sight towards the city, while rising towards the roof you may observe all the technical details and geometries on the huge mirror cone, dedicated to enhance energetic efficiency. The entire space turns around as you rotate constantly around a circular and rising path. Each step is unique !

Suddenly we see an odd element, a screen. I have photographed a detail of the interesting mobile sun shield device that slowly rotates during the day, adjusting its position relative to the sun in order to avoid eccesive glare and overheating of the micro environment within the dome and the underlying parliament.

The transparency of the Dome, both a metaphorical as well as a pragmatic journey through information from above, from below, from inside and outside. It is the perfect synthesis of the opening of our consciousness towards the unknown, freeing us from ignorance and fear. We become aware of our connection to all.

Metaphor and pragmatism, thought and reality coexist. “As above so below…as without so within“.

 

Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – Detail View of Spiral Pathway
Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – General View of spiral pathway and dome structure

 

Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – Detail View of sun sheild mechanism
Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – View of dome from main entrance
Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – View of dome along spiral pathway

Reichstag, Germany, Norman Foster Architects – Detail View of mirror elements and underying German Parliament.