New Landtag Building
- The project to build a new Landtag Brandenburg
- Inner courtyard
- Layout, series of rooms, interior development
- Plenary chamber
The project to build a new Landtag Brandenburg
In May 2005 the Landtag of the Land of Brandenburg decided to have the new Landtag building erected on the site of the Alter Markt in the city centre of Potsdam. The award procedure started in 2006. Its aim was to identify and commission the most cost-effective overall solution for the design, construction, financing and operation of the new Landtag building within the framework of a public-private partnership. The award procedure was concluded on 2 September 2009, when the project agreement between the Land of Brandenburg and the Royal BAM Group was signed. It was agreed to construct the new Landtag building on the basis of the blueprint created by the Dresden architect Prof. Peter Kulka. An integral part of the project is the reconstruction of the external facades of the Knobelsdorff-designed city palace (Stadtschloss), which was made possible by a donation from the Hasso Plattner Foundation. This entrepreneur’s foundation also allows the roof to be covered in copper, a material that had also been used in the previous palace. The idea behind Prof. Peter Kulka’s blueprint is based on the genius loci of Potsdam, which is still characterised by the close symbiosis between town and country. The construction of the new Landtag building on Alter Markt offers a unique opportunity to complete the unfinished city centre. The transformation of the interior of the building from a city palace for Prussian kings to a modern Landtag is taking place whilst traditional elements are being recycled for the outer skin. The recreated historic staircase (“Knobelsdorff staircase”) in the centre of the corps de logis plays a vital intermediary role here. It is being reconstructed in its original geometric form along with the preserved original sculptures and building components. These are being restored to their original positions. The courtyard facade of the three-winged annex is being repositioned with the greatest possible regard for the historic palace facade, in order to ensure that the palace building has the requisite capacity for the Landtag. Under a traditional guise but with a modern inner life, the emerging structure offers a self-assured and open setting for parliamentary work.
Historical reconstruction of the south wingThe external facades and those of the front sections on the Alter Markt are modelled on the originals in terms of materials and workmanship, which means that traditional materials and manual skills are used for the surface finishes. The courtyard facades are likewise being rebuilt to resemble their historical predecessors as far as possible. The installation of box-type windows with an outer casing constructed of wood is designed to blend in with the original appearance. The inner casing of the window functions as sound and heat insulation. Air circulates between the two casings to allow natural ventilation of the rooms. Skylights and cornices mirror the remaining facade in terms of their size and frequency.
The outer skin of the external wall is made of solid brickwork and rendered. Building components that were originally made of different varieties of sandstone, such as cornices and pilasters, are also being reconstructed, with the surfaces being finished by hand. The windows are fashioned from wood with genuine sash bars to resemble their historical predecessors; the design of balustrades is also in keeping with old photographs and illustrations. As far as is technically feasible, any intact building parts and stone fragments are re-integrated into their original positions (“replaced”). The surfaces are thus preserved together with their historical features, including traces of past workmanship and signs of weathering, for example.
The design of a modern Landtag behind the external facade of the Knobelsdorff-designed palace necessitates changes to the original configuration of the building. The contours of the original building would be suitable neither for the centrepiece of a parliament building, the plenary chamber, nor to provide rooms for the members and staff of the Landtag. To facilitate the reconstruction of the external facades, therefore, it is necessary to design the south and side wings of the three-winged annex with a greater depth than their historical predecessors. Whilst this reduces the size of the inner courtyard, its original proportions still remain intact.
Layout, series of rooms, interior development
The route from Alter Markt through the Fortuna Gate leads into the palace courtyard which, as an area accessible to the general public, becomes an open citizens’ forum. Paths and lawns are in keeping with the appearance of the original inner courtyard. The prestigious former middle wing with its famous Garden Room is being transformed into the public area of the parliament. The Knobelsdorff-designed staircase in the centre of the south wing becomes the main entrance to the parliament. This leads through to the Landtag foyer on the ground floor with information points and cloakrooms, a press area, cafeteria and exhibition area. Visitors to the Landtag pass through here into an auditorium, where they can find out about the work done by the parliament. Apart from the reception area, the offices of the Landtag administration and the Petition Committee’s rooms are also located on the ground floor. Members and visitors separate on leaving the foyer to take public or internal staircases – newly created showpieces – to the plenary area. The upper floors of the side wings of the building accommodate the parliamentary groups and their meeting rooms, both large and small. These can be used flexibly according to the size of each group. The meeting rooms are situated at the interfaces between the side wings and south wing so that they run alongside the plenary chamber and connect it to the offices of the individual parliamentary groups. The Court of Audit of the Land of Brandenburg is temporarily housed in some areas of the upper floors until a merger of the federal states of Brandenburg and Berlin. Even during this period of temporary use, the chosen configuration means that five parliamentary groups can be housed separately in the immediate vicinity of the plenary area. The premises allocated to the Land Court of Audit are equivalent to the area that would be occupied by the Berlin members following a merger of the two federal states. The reconstructed Knobelsdorff staircase serves to give access to the “Belle Etage” with the plenary chamber for special occasions such as receptions and open days. The offices of the Landtag President and the Landtag Director are located on the first floor, together with a dedicated meeting room. Members of the press and visitors are taken to the press and public galleries, another level up on the second floor. The second floor has a work area for representatives of the press and houses the offices of the Minister-President. The Landtag library and the restaurant, which has separate areas for visitors and members, are located on the fourth floor. There is a roof terrace outside the restaurant with views over the inner courtyard, the Fortuna Gate and the marble obelisks of the Church of St Nicholas (Nikolaikirche).
The future plenary ChamberThe white, silver and red that dominate the plenary chamber are derived from the colours of the Land of Brandenburg. The plenary chamber slots into the structure of the building like a bright “inlay”, whilst the contrast between the materials used for the white stucco on the historical facades and the acoustic walls made of light glazed wood vividly illustrates the interface between the reconstructed original facade and the modern interior. The materials described lend character to the plenary chamber as befits its importance. A domelight is installed in the historical middle belvedere to provide natural lighting in the plenary chamber. The central viewing gallery is flanked by the press and television broadcasting galleries. Taken together, these are arranged to form a public tier above the events in the plenary chamber.
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