Palace of the Parliament

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Palace of the Parliament
Palatul Parlamentului
Palace Of Parliament Bucharest.jpg
The Palace of the Parliament in April 2018, Bucharest, Romania
Palace of the Parliament is located in Romania
Palace of the Parliament
Location within Romania
Former names "House of the Republic"
Alternative names "The People's House"
General information
Architectural style Totalitarian, neoclassical
Address Calea 13 Septembrie 1, Sector 5
Town or city Bucharest
Country Romania
Coordinates 44°25′39″N 26°5′15″E / 44.42750°N 26.08750°E / 44.42750; 26.08750Coordinates: 44°25′39″N 26°5′15″E / 44.42750°N 26.08750°E / 44.42750; 26.08750
Groundbreaking 25 June 1984
Completed 1997
Cost €3 billion euros
Height
Architectural 84 m (276 ft)
Technical details
Size 240 m (790 ft) long, 270 m (890 ft) wide
Floor count 12
Floor area 365,000 m2 (3,930,000 sq ft)
Grounds 66,000 m2
Design and construction
Architect 700 architects under the direction of chief architect Anca Petrescu (1949-2013)
Designations
  • World's largest civilian building with an administrative function
  • World's most expensive administrative building
  • World's heaviest building
Other information
Number of rooms 1,100

The Palace of the Parliament (Romanian: Palatul Parlamentului) is the seat of the Parliament of Romania. Located on Dealul Arsenalului in the national capital city of central Bucharest (Sector 5), it is the second largest administrative building in the world after The Pentagon.[1] The Palace has a height of 84 metres (276 ft), an area of 365,000 square metres (3,930,000 sq ft) and a volume of 2,550,000 cubic metres (90,000,000 cu ft). In terms of weight, the Palace of the Parliament is also the heaviest building in the world, weighing in at around 4,098,500,000 kilograms (9.0356×109 lb).[2]

A colossal building, designed and supervised by chief architect Anca Petrescu (1949–2013), with a team of approximately 700 architects, constructed over a period of 13 years (1984–97), it was built as a monument for a totalitarian kitsch style of architecture, in Totalitarian and modernist Neoclassical architectural forms and styles,[3] with socialist realism in mind.[4] The Palace was ordered by Nicolae Ceaușescu (1918–1989), the megalomaniac dictator of Communist Romania and the second of two longtime autocrats in power in the country since World War II,[5] during a period in which the personality cult of political worship and adoration was in full force for him and his family.[6] Known for its ornate interior composed of 23 sections, it houses the two houses of the Parliament of Romania: the Senate (Senat) and the Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputatilor), along with three museums and an international conference center. The several museums hosted inside the Palace are the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism (established in 2015)[7] and the Museum of the Palace. Though originally named the House of the Republic when under its long period of construction (Romanian: Casa Republicii), after the Romanian Revolution in December 1989 it became widely known as The People's House (Romanian: Casa Poporului). Due to its impressive endowments, events organized by state institutions and international bodies such as conferences, symposia, and others take place there, but even so about 70% of the building almost four decades later still remains empty.[8][9]

In 1990, Australian business and media magnate Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy the building for US $1 billion, but his bid was rejected.[10] As of 2008, the Palace of the Parliament is valued at €3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), making it also the most expensive administrative building in the world.[11] The cost of heating and electric use and lighting alone exceeds $6 million per year, as much as the total cost for powering a medium-sized city.[12]

Location[edit]

The building of the Palace is located in the central part of Bucharest (in Sector 5), in a location that today is known as Dealul Arsenalului. It is situated at the west end of the 3,5 kilometre Unirii Boulevard, constructed simultaneously with the Palace, and is framed by Izvor Street to the west and northwest, United Nations Avenue to the north, Liberty Avenue to the east and Calea 13 Septembrie to the south.

History[edit]

Palace of the Parliament (then House of the Republic) under construction, two years after its 1984 groundbreaking, on 1 May 1986. View looking toward Unirii Boulevard
View from the Palace. For its construction, the Uranus-Izvor neighborhood was demolished.[13]

After the Vrancea earthquake of 4 March 1977, communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu (ruled 1965–89) found a pretext to demolish Bucharest's old architecture buildings of the capital city.[14] He wanted a civic center more in line with the country political stance, started a reconstruction plan of Bucharest based on socialist realism style.[4] The House of the Republic (later The People's House after the 1989 Revolution) was the center of this project. Named Project Bucharest, it was an ambitious project of Ceaușescu's begun in 1978 as an intended replica of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. A systematization project existed since the 1930s (during the time of King Carol II) for the Unirii–Dealul Arsenalului area. Its construction was organized as a contest and won by Anca Petrescu (1949-2013), who was appointed chief architect of the project when she was just age 28. In total, the team that coordinated the work was made up of 10 assisting architects, which supervised a further lower 700.[15] Construction of the Palace began on June 25, 1984, and the inauguration of the work was attended by Ceaușescu and frequently inspected personally.

The building was also erected on the site of some monasteries that were demolished and on the site of Uranus Hill that was leveled. In this area were previously located the National Archives, Văcărești Monastery, Brâncovenesc Hospital,[16] as well as about 37 old factories and workshops.[17] Demolition in the Uranus area began in 1982. 7 km2 of the old city center was demolished, and 40,000 people were relocated from this area. The works were carried out with forced labor of soldiers and so the cost was minimized.[18]

Between 20,000 and 100,000 people worked on the site and project, operating in three shifts, 5,000 soldiers of the Romanian Army, huge numbers of "volunteers".[19] Thousands of workers died in connection with the construction of the House of the Republic / People's House, some sources mention a figure of 3,000 people lost.[20]

In 1989, building costs were estimated at $1.75 billion, and in 2006 at €3 billion euros.

After 1989[edit]

Since 1994, the building hosts the Chamber of Deputies, after the initial headquarters of the institution, the Palace of the Chamber of Deputies (now the Palace of the Patriarchate), was donated by the State to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Since 2004 the Romanian Senate has been headquartered in the Parliamentary Palace and was originally housed in the former building of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party.

Six years after the Palace's completion, between 2003 and 2004, a glass annex was built alongside the external elevators.[21] This was done to facilitate outside access to the National Museum of Contemporary Art which opened in 2004 inside the west wing of the Palace. In the same period, a project aiming to hoist a huge flag was canceled following protests from the public. A flag was already hoisted on the building, but was removed together with the support.

The restaurant, accessible only to politicians, was refurbished. Since 1998 the building houses an office for the Regional Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center for Fighting Transborder Crime.[22]

In 2008, the Palace hosted the 20th NATO summit for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In 2010, politician Silviu Prigoană proposed re-purposing the building into a shopping centre and an entertainment complex. Citing costs, Prigoană said that the Romanian Parliament should move to a new building, since they occupied only 30% of the interior of the massive palace. While the proposal has sparked a debate in Romania, another politician Miron Mitrea dismissed the idea as a "joke".[23]

The Palace has also been the background of several motorsports events, including the 2011 Drift Grand Prix Romania, which brought together professional drifters from all over Europe. [24]

Technical details[edit]

Elaborate decorations in Alexandru Ioan Cuza Hall

The construction of the Palace began in 1984 and initially should have been completed in only two years. The term was then extended until 1990, but even now it is not finalized. Only 400 rooms and two meeting rooms are finished and used, out of 1,100 rooms.

The building has eight underground levels, the last one being a nuclear bunker, linked to the main state institutions by 20 km of catacombs.[25] Nicolae Ceaușescu feared nuclear war. The bunker is a room with 1.5 m thick concrete walls and can not be penetrated by radiation. The shelter is composed of the main hall – headquarters that would have had telephone connections with all military units in Romania – and several residential apartments for state leadership, in the event of war.

The building has a developed area of 365,000 m2, making it the world's third-largest administrative building, after The Pentagon and Long'ao Building, and in terms of volume, with its 2.55 million m3, it is the third most massive, after the Americans' National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Vehicle Assembly Building of the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan, Mexico.[26] For comparison, it can be mentioned that the building exceeds by 2% the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza along the Nile River in Egypt,[27] and therefore some sources label it as a "pharaonic" construction.[28]

The building of the Palace of the Parliament sinks by 6 mm each year because of its weight.[29] Romanian specialists who analyzed the data argue that massive weight and structure of the Palace lead to the settlement of layers below the construction.

Materials[edit]

Palace's famous crystal chandeliers were manufactured at Vitrometan Mediaș glass factory.[30] The manufacture of the 480 chandeliers took two years.

The building was constructed almost entirely of materials of Romanian origin. The only exceptions are the doors of Nicolae Bălcescu Hall. These were received by Ceaușescu as a gift from his friend Mobutu Sese Seko (Joseph Mobutu), the longtime President and similar dictator of Zaire in Central Africa (formerly the colony Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).[31]

Among them: 3,500 tonnes of crystal – 480 chandeliers, 1,409 ceiling lights and mirrors were manufactured; 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze for monumental doors and windows, chandeliers and capitals;1,000,000 m3 of marble[31] 900,000 m3 of wood[32] (over 95% domestic) for parquet and wainscotting, including walnut, oak, sweet cherry, elm, sycamore maple; 200,000 m2 of woolen carpets of various dimensions (machines had to be moved inside the building to weave some of the larger carpets); velvet and brocade curtains adorned with embroideries and passementeries in silver and gold.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Largest administrative building: world record set by The Palace of the Romanian Parliament". World Record Academy. 
  2. ^ "Heaviest building". Guinness World Records. 
  3. ^ "Anca Petrescu". 11 July 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Vlad Bodogan: Architecture of oppression: an analyses of the socio-political implications behind the construction of Casa Scânteii". Pavilion Magazine. 11 July 2018. 
  5. ^ "Megalomania lui Ceaușescu: dorința de a merge pe sub București și povestea catacombelor secrete". 11 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Se muncea, dar se și murea. Povești cutremurătoare de pe șantierele lui Ceaușescu". 11 July 2018. 
  7. ^ "Senatul a adoptat legea privind infiintarea Muzeului Totalitarismului Comunist. Academia Romana va intocmi si un raport de condamnare a comunismului". HotNews.ro. 22 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Palatul Parlamentului, o emblema a Bucurestiului". Hotel-Bucuresti.com. 
  9. ^ John Malathronas (5 December 2014). "Palace of the damned dictator: On the trail of Ceausescu in Bucharest". CNN. 
  10. ^ "Detalii nestiute despre Casa Poporului, cea mai scumpa cladire administrativa din lume". Stirile Pro TV. 16 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Casa Poporului - de trei ori în Cartea Recordurilor". Gândul. 4 April 2008. 
  12. ^ Andrei Pandele (September 2008). "Palatul Parlamentului din Casa Poporului". National Geographic România. 
  13. ^ Roxana Ruscior (21 August 2014). ""Ceauşima" – cum a fost demolat cartierul Uranus". Descoperă.ro. 
  14. ^ "Demolarea casei Grigore Cerkez după cutremurul din 1977". 11 July 2018. 
  15. ^ "De la Casa Poporului la Palatul Parlamentului. Istoria clădirii care a intrat de trei ori în Cartea Recordurilor". Digi24. 31 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Spitalul Brâncovenesc nu trebuia să cadă!". Ziarul Ring. 22 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Atunci si acum: Casa Poporului". Metropotam. 9 June 2009. 
  18. ^ Ioan Popa (1992). Robi pe Uranus (I ed.). Humanitas. ISBN 973-28-0304-5. 
  19. ^ "Şantierele groazei. Cum s-au construit cu sânge mastodonţii doriţi de Ceauşescu: Casa Poporului, Canal, Transfăgărăşan şi Bicaz". 11 July 2018. 
  20. ^ Anca Murgoci (8 November 2013). "Peste ce s-a construit Casa Poporului. Vezi imagini din 1982". DC News. 
  21. ^ Mariusz Czepczynski (June 2008). Cultural Landscapes of Post-Socialist Cities. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7022-3. 
  22. ^ "South-East Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. 
  23. ^ Matthew Day (4 February 2010). "Nicolae Ceausescu palace 'to be turned into shopping mall'". The Telegraph. 
  24. ^ "Guest Blog: Drift.ro>> Sideways In Romania's Capital - Speedhunters". Speedhunters. 2011-10-29. Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  25. ^ "Secretele Casei Poporului | "Ceauşescu voia să umble cu maşina pe sub Bucureşti"". Libertatea. 21 February 2011. 
  26. ^ "La plimbare prin subsolul Casei Poporului". Adevărul. 26 March 2010. 
  27. ^ "Lucruri mai putin stiute despre Casa Poporului - cea mai mare cladire din Europa". Metropotam. 4 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Casa Poporului". TravelWorld.ro. 
  29. ^ "Casa Poporului se scufundă în sol în fiecare an. Ce spun specialiştii despre acest "fenomen"". Gândul. 26 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "VITROMETAN, locul unde 2 ani s-a lucrat la candelabrele din Casa Poporului. De la moda peştelui din sticlă colorată aşezat pe mileul de pe televizor la planul pentru supravieţuire". Mediafax. 26 March 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "7 Amazing Facts about The Palace of The Parliament in Bucharest". YourAmazingPlaces.com. 
  32. ^ "Casa Poporului". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. 

External links[edit]