The Rock Church in Helsinki is unique. Excavated into solid rock, with a copper-lined dome, this unconventional structure was once rejected as a “devil defence bunker”. But the experience of standing in the underground oval church-hall bathed in daylight is something few other places of peace can match. My stomach was grumbling, for the baby had finished the Finnish cheese at great speed and I was hungry, again. Wary of it echoing, I sat there, praying for happiness and health, but also hoping the grand organ would come alive to put the baby’s kicking to sleep. The Sibelius Monument was what we saw but did not really see. It was snowing heavily and the design which once sparked lively debates about abstract art was lost to the white of falling flakes; 24 tonnes of 600 hollow steel pipes welded together in a wave-like pattern as a tribute to the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. No wonder then, that souvenir shops in Helsinki charged me my car’s worth for glass artifacts made in the 2012 World Design Capital.
Pritzker prize winning architect, Sir Norman Foster, was commissioned in 1992 to transform the 19th century Reichstag building in Berlin, as the new home of a unified German Parliament after the fall of East Germany. Officially opened on April 19, 1999, the new Reichstag Dome is an evocative union of history and modern technology, creating a bold architectural vision that evokes transparency beyond structural boundaries.
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His distinctive Reichstag Dome, made of glass and steel sits on top of one of the most politically significant structures in the twentieth century, the rebuilt Reichstag building, home to a unified Germany government.