Germany has had a very interesting history in that at the beginning of the 19th Century, it was only a collection of principalities, kingdoms and states of which Prussia is the strongest. From 1866 after the Battle of Königgrätz against the Austrian Empire and the Franco Prussian War of 1870-1871, Germany became a united state which placed a powerful nation in central Europe. The Unification of Germany was immortalized in the painting of Anton von Werner.This painting was obviously used to glorify the triumph of Prussia-Germany to against the French Republic and the fact that the German Empire was proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles is glorious indeed. What is interesting about this painting though is the man in white who is Otto von Bismarck the Prussian Prime Minister. He is the architect of the German Unification and in this painting; he is portrayed in white cuirassier uniform. However in the real proclamation he is actually wearing a Prussian Blue Uniform. This shows that propaganda is already being used by the German Empire at its birth. This painting fuelled the nationalism of the Germans as for too long they have been divided and invaded by the French especially by Napoleon in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Unification of Germany has been very bloody as Prussia had to fight 3 wars to attain it. However, it was worth it in the end as the Germany Empire from 1871- 1914 has wan the most nobel prizes overall. With Unification there has to be a parliament. This is situated in the Reichstag. Construction began in 1882 as the current parliament building was too small. The Reichstag was completed in 1892. The Reichstag became the seat for the German Parliament to this day. At its completion, The Reichstag was acclaimed for the construction of an original cupola of steel and glass, which was an engineering masterpiece of the time.
During Nazi Germany, the Reichstag lost its significance as it was a dictatorship under Hitler. A fire broke out in the Reichstag which was used by the Nazis to gain more power. The source of the fire according to official Nazi reports was of a Dutch Communist. This was clearly a propaganda move as there was no clear evidence. After the fire, the Reichstag further lost its significance. During the Battle of Berlin, the Reichstag was further targeted by the Red Army and was a high priority target due to its perceived symbolism. Reconstruction only began in the 1990 after German Reunification and is now one of the most visited attractions in Berlin
This breath- taking structure is regarded for it’s novel architecture and fascinating impression. This is a colossal edifice with four gigantic facades and one immense portico encompassing front positioned eight Corinthian columns. The Reichstag after its reconstruction became a symbol of humanism by the German Government, and its willingness to be one with its people and its new positive attitude toward transparent public representation. The Reichstag is made from simple and plain materials such as steel, stone and glass which make it accessible and friendly. It is also made of simple lines without any extravagant shapes save for the sculptures. The Reichstag’s blocky sturdy feature is a symbol of stability after many years of turmoil in German History.
The reconstruction added the Glass Dome which added a sense of freedom and light to the Reichstag. The dome itself illuminates the parliamentary chamber and creates an unusually lighting effect during the day. The dome has a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. The design was originally created by Sir Norman Foster to add the glass dome above the plenary hall. Additionally Foster designed the Dome to be environmentally friendly. Energy Efficient features involving the use of the daylight shining through the mirrored cone were applied, effectively decreasing the carbon emissions of the building. The futuristic and transparent design of the Reichstag dome makes it a unique landmark, and symbolizes Berlin’s attempt to move away from a past of Nazism and instead towards a future with a heavier emphasis on a united, democratic Germany.
The fact that Foster turned the washed out Reichstag of the Cold War into a truly sensational piece of architecture is a wonder in itself. The 360 degree view of the city adds tourism factors.
The Reichstag is one of my favorite structures in that it had a very rich history and had many modifications and additions which makes it the great architectural masterpiece of the day. This is because it is a constantly evolving structure which utilizes whatever the best technology is available in its reconstructions.
Pabillore Jose Arnaldo F. 2011-79413