Bundestag – New Visitors and Information Center Competition
German competition for a new visitor centre for its iconic parliament building in Berlin. The two-stage competition – organized by the country’s Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning – seeks ideas for a new 3,750m² facility for visitors to the landmark building.
The concept is based on the idea of a park Pavilion which is transparent enough to dissolve in the Tiergarden, and at the same time enough important to became the visitors entrance to the Reichstag.
It is characterized by this kind of dualism , deriving from the building’s attachment to the most important institution of the democtratic Germany- the Reichstag and the location on the edge of a protected park area – the Tiergarden.
Shaping the volumes of the pavilion we tended to keep the scale small, the footprint minimal and height balanced with the silhouette of the park. But at the same time we wanted the building to seem present , we had chosen to underline it strongly for the visitors already when they watch the building from the Reichstag dome or roof terrace.
The facade is shaped in a way to correspond with the Platz der Republik, It is more solid , more modular and rhythmic along the Scheidemannstrasse , as the buildings of the Reichstag and Parliament, and it gets more open, transparent and even playfull in the relation of the park.
We thoungt about the pavilion as the Preludy to the Reichstag building, it will give the visitors some scent of what they will see further, but in slightly different way and smaller scale.
The Garden of the Democracy
We cite the dome of Reichstag, which is the internationally known symbol of the building and the transparent democracy of the country. In the pavilion it becomes the mirrored structure, which houses the patio and the PlenarForum.
The patio we placed in the building has a small and cosy garden, to be admired by the visitors who are already in the secured zone. This patio diminishes the visitor’s distance to the Tiergarden, and implements a piece of it into the secured environment of the building. It also helps to improve the natural lighting inside considerably, and organizes the space of the foyer. To keep the security restrictions it is covered with a glazed roof.
The plants on the patio will be selected to represent each of the 16 lands of the Republic ( Bundeslander), the plants growing one next to another in harmony are our vision of good governed society. We will call the place: The Garden of the Democracy.
As it is located centrally, on the axis of the entrance to the visitor’s center it becomes for us the initial point for landscaped roof organization and the landscape of the surrounding territory. Citing the “>7” landscape designers’ lines which organize the Platz der Republic , the lines surrounding the pavilion are centrical and they create the illusion of pulsation.
The Planar Forum is located under the patio. It takes the same central location. It can be observed by the visitors from different angles and different levels , including from above.
The structure of the pavilion
The entrance to the visitor’s center is located at its western edge , collecting the flow from Scheidemannstrasse and from the Central Station(Hauptbahnhoff) and the Metro. The Pre-security zone ( Vorfeld sicherung) is roofed and surrounded by the colonnade of the façade. This way we managed to hide the long queues ( lines) of visitors from the view of passer bys but also the visitors themselves from harsh weather conditions ( both rain and sun).
The internal functional organization follows the logic of the visitors’ movement around the center (Visitors center).
The ground floor plan is organized around The Garden of Democracy, surrounded by the atrium , that opens the view straight to the underground level where Planarforum with Kommunikationsbereich, Cinema Hall and Wardrobes are located. The groundfloor is kept as transparent as possible to give the views toward the outside surrounding. The whole Diskussions and Seminarraume are located at the mezzanine with their own foyer and visitors toilets block.
The structure of the pavilion gets denser on the edges and it always leaves maximum space just around the central part where Garden and Plenarforum are placed.