Project Type: Visitor Centre


Location: Berlin, Germany


Year: 2016


Status: Competition Design


Size: 7,700 sqm


Team: Arup, Berlin and Man Made Land, Berlin


The German Bundestag is visited annually by up to three million guests. In December 2015, the German Bundestag started an open, international design competition for the construction of a visitor and information center due to increased necessary security controls and the desire for an adequate visitor service. South of the entrance of the Reichstag, in the Tiergarten, the new building is to be connected by a tunnel to the Bundestag.

The building design of GRAFT is an extension of the existing architecture of the Reichstag to the northern area of the Tiergarten. Here the visitor is already aware of the form of the building: the pavilion emerges from the ground like the “roots of democracy”. In the heart of the new building, there is a copy of the plenary hall where the visitors will be informed about the upcoming visit to the Reichstag building.

A two-storey foyer with a downward winding ramp becomes a new experience space. Big enough to accommodate a large number of visitors at the same time, this meeting point represents the basic idea of a community in the focus of the entire facility.

The new building introduces the narrative of the main building and shifts the public, informative and communicative program functions along a common, large corridor around the replicated, smaller plenary hall. This large ramp regulates the visitor flow and informs all visitors with an interactive wall installation. Through the integration of interactive elements within the visitor tunnel, the Visitor Centre is thus not only a place where history is presented, but also an active information space

The route allows a 360-degree panorama view along the winding path and the overlaying of the historical impressions with the background of the Tiergarten area and the clear reference and view to the Reichstag building.

The form of the external façade is designed according to purely performative aspects of its environment. The corresponding sun protection and light requirements of the interiors can thus be guaranteed at the same time.

The roof design provides a clear reference to the Reichstag dome and continues its basic ideas. Visitors will clearly see the unity of the buildings.