Years of renovation – Parliament on the Ring shines in new splendour

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Here it was grand and not a mess: the parliament on the Vienna ring was rebuilt in four and a half years. The renovation is now complete and the redesigned old parliament building plays all the pieces. The renovation costs of a total of 420 million euros have remained within reasonable limits given the size of the renovation.

Built by Theophil Hansen in the Greek-classical style between 1874 and 1883, the building was in a disastrous condition before the renovation and had “serious structural defects”, as stated in a 2009 report. The roof structure, in particular, was in very poor condition and was partially leaking. The electrical installations were also outdated in some places.

The expert also warned that there was a high risk potential due to inadequate fire protection measures. A thorough renovation was therefore inevitable.

Monument care as a challenge
The specification for this radical conversion was to protect the mentioned substance as much as possible, but to take the necessary interventions. That also seems to have worked out well. The upper and ground floors have been completely redecorated, but the meeting room of the National Council and the historic meeting room have been preserved in their original state, as has the beautiful library that will also be open to visitors in the future.

A new visitor center and two new shops have been built on the ground floor. On the top floor there are several multifunctional rooms, a large catering area and a visitors’ room, including for the democracy workshop. From the top floor, look down into the National Council Chamber, which is topped by a new glass dome.

A total of 55,000 square meters of net floor space was renovated, 40,000 square meters of floors were demolished and re-laid together with technical installations, 740 windows and 600 doors were renovated and 500 chandeliers were renovated. The floor area was increased by 10,000 square meters with new rooms and a 1,500 square meter visitor center (“workshop democracy”) on the ground floor. Also new are 800 square meters of catering space (especially in the converted attic) and four terraces with a total area of ​​400 square meters.

Glass dome as a highlight
The highlight of the renovation is the glass dome above the meeting room of the National Council with a diameter of 28 meters and an area of ​​550 square meters. The panels are electrochromic, their light transmission can be controlled. The acoustics in the hall have recently been improved, with insulation material in the subfloor and transparent acoustic sails in the dome. All MPs will be provided with computer connections and a ten-inch screen.

On the outside, the facade on Ringstrasse was restored, as well as the Pallas Athena fountain and 44 Attica figures made of Carrara marble. EUR 1.8 million was also provided for art in Parliament – and not just a rented Bösendorfer grand piano decorated with gold.

Reopening in the new year
The new parliament will be ceremoniously reopened on 12 January. On 14 and 15 January 2023, the reopened parliament will be open to the public with two open days. You can visit the National Council, the Federal Council and the Federal Assembly Hall, the offices of the President of the National Council and the Federal Council, the colonnaded hall, the new visitor center and the library.

Source: Krone

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