New Government Quarter in Berlin (May 10, 2000)
After the Bundestag decided in 1991 to move the capital to Berlin, the Reichstag was renovated to meet the requirements of a modern parliament building, and a new government quarter was built along the Spree. In 1993, the Berlin architects Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank won the urban development competition for the new government quarter with their concept for a “Ribbon of the Federation.” Their plan organized the various buildings along a single line (or ribbon) that crossed the Spree at two points and juxtaposed the executive and legislative branches. In 1995, Schultes and Frank also won the building competition for the new Federal Chancellery. The commission for the Reichstag renovation was awarded to British architect Sir Norman Foster, while Munich architect Stephan Braunfels won the competition to design the parliament buildings. This aerial photograph shows the Reichstag building (center left); next to it is the construction site of the Bundestag buildings (Paul Löbe House). The Federal Press Conference Building (trapezoidal in shape) can be seen in the right foreground, while the Federal Chancellery appears in the right background. The renovated Reichstag building was particularly well received, and most of the new government buildings also won acclaim from architectural critics and the public alike. The Federal Chancellery, however, is often criticized as too monumental. The chancellery was completed in May 2001; witty Berliners have nicknamed it the “Federal Washing Machine.” Photo: Julia Fassbender.