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AD Classics: New German Parliament, Reichstag / Foster + Partners

This article was originally published on November 2, 2015. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

As Norman Foster describes in his firm’s monograph, Foster 40, “Our transformation of the Reichstag is rooted in four related issues: the Bundestag’s significance as a democratic forum, an understanding of history, a commitment to public accessibility and a vigorous environmental agenda.”[1] Foster’s description sounds straightforward enough, but the process of creating the New German Parliament at the Reichstag was only the latest entry in the long, complex, and contentious history of the building.

How Cities have Rebuilt from the Ashes

Every city has a story. Throughout history, many natural and man-made changes have altered the way cities were originally laid out. For some, the urban form developed as a result of political disputes, religious separations, or class divides. For others, a more mixed approach has allowed for uniquely mixed cultural atmospheres. And while development of cities is typically slow, occasionally cities experience dramatic and immediate changes to the urban fabric - the results of natural disaster, military conflict, or industrial catastrophe.

What happens next - if anything - can reveal a great deal about not just the city itself, but the local culture. Do cities rebuild exactly as they were? Or do they use disaster as an opportunity to reinvent themselves? The following is a roundup of cities that have moved past catastrophe to be reborn from the ashes.

Dresden - Now. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User Ingersoll Licensed Under Public DomainDresden - Before. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User AndreasPraefcke CC BY 3.0Berlin Reichstag. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User Fae Licensed Under Public DomainLisbon. Image Courtesy of PIxabay+ 42