Reichstag Dome, Berlin

Reichstag Dome, Berlin

The Reichstag dome is a glass dome with a 360 degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape and constructed on the rebuilt Reichstag building in Berlin. The building was designed by architect Norman Foster and was built to symbolize the reunification of Germany. The distinctive appearance of the dome has made it a prominent landmark in Berlin. The debating chamber of the Bundestag, the German parliament, can be seen down below.

Lord Norman Foster’s concept of “transparent politics” permeates the building like a leitmotif in glass. In symbolic terms this is elucidated by the 2.8m glass railings from RIVA. Used for the corridors, bridges and galleries, as well as for twelve stairwells with columns in facing concrete and landings, of which some are semi-circular shaped, these railings guide the members of parliament and visitors through the Reichstag. The office courtyard wells outside provide also glass railings.

RIVA developed an entirely new profile geometry for more than 300 windows of the Reichstag within only a very short period of time: Flat-elliptic sashes based on the designs of the architect Lord Norman Foster.

In terms of structure and function most of these special windows with a height of up to 9 m and a width of up to 4.5 m, which consist of two to sixteen parts, are similar to a double facade. The primary facade on the inside consists of the unit-type window system with ellipsoid sash profiles from RIVA, whereas the outer secondary facade features a 12 mm thick pane of toughened glass with step-shaped rabbets, positioned flush in front of the elliptic special sections. A box window frame, also in elliptic shape and constructed of light sheet-metal, reinforces the overall harmonious visual effect.

The various window types include not only fixed glazing panels but vary in swivel sashes, tilt-and-swivel sashes, center-hung sashes and sliding sashes. All of them can be combined in a diversity of designs and are opened either manually or by an electric motor. Because of their mostly extreme size and weight, the window elements are each actuated by two chain motors which are concealed by the sash section. All cables are completely fitted in cable ducts on the inside of the building and mounted on the edging frame: a considerable challenging system, notably considering the semicircular windows. A special control system ensures a time delay during the opening and closing of the inner windows and the center-hung sashes in the outer secondary façade. In this way collisions are prevented. Similarly, inner windows that are opened manually, cannot be slid open when the neighboring sash is tilted. The motorized tilting function of the sash is likewise blocked when a neighboring sliding sash is open.

Both, the single-hand operating mechanisms, which are protected against incorrect operation, and the handles of the sliding door which are integrated in the frame section, are special designs by Riva GmbH Holding.

The LON bus based control system, designated for the smoke and heat outlet sashes, has been implemented likewise by Riva GmbH Holding.