The Reichstag Building is located in Berlin, Germany, and was the German Empire’s first parliament building.
The building was opened in the year 1894, and the Reichstag presided there until 1933, which was when the building caught fire. The building was severely damaged and was in ruins until the reunification of Germany. The building was reconstructed under the supervision of Norman Foster, an internationally famous architect. The construction was completed in 1999 and named “The Bundestag” and serves as a meeting place for the German Parliament.
The original building construction began in the year 1871. The parliament had been meeting in various buildings in Berlin, but there was never enough room to accomodate all of parliament. A contest was held in 1872, where 103 architects participated and submitted plans for the new building. The work was not started until 10 years after because disputes between Otto von Bismarck, Wilhelm I, and other Reichstag members as it pertains to the construction method to be used.
Great Panorama Perspective of Reichstag Dome in Berlin, Germany
Photo from: René Ehrhardt, Creative Commons
Again, in the year 1882, another contest was held, 189 architects participated. Finally, Paul Wallot, a Frankfurt architect stood as winner and his design was given the proper recognition. Construction began on June 9, 1884, it was completed in 1894. Several structural elements of the building were built out of glass and steel. The building was known as one of the best engineering masterpieces of that period. In 1916, the words “Dem Deutschen Volke” which means, “To the German People”, was carved on the building’s main ediface.
On February 27, 1933, the building was set on fire, and for 12 years, parliament sessions met in various places. During World War II, the building was used for party line presentations by the military. The building was repaired after the fire accident, but later the building was severely damaged by air bombings during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.
The value of restoring the building received much attention, which led to another contest. Paul Baumgarten was the eventual winner, reconstruction of the Reichstag building went on between 1961 and 1964.
German reunification took place on October 3rd, 1990, in the Reichstag building. Parliament sessions were held on June 20, 1991 in the new building. In 1991, a dome was added to the Reichstag building. Today, people visit the Reichstag building if only to view the Soviet graffiti on the smoky walls up on the roofs.