Built as a result of an architectural competition, the Reichstag was originally designed by Paul Wallot and completed in 1894. It is a bombastic building, with an overscaled above-ground basement level and four monumental facades. The main entrance is approached via a large flight of steps to a hugh portico with corinthian columns.
During the night of 27 February 1933, the Reichstag was burned, destroying the interior and the dome which surmounted the building. After further damage during the Second World War, a restoration of sorts was carried out between 1958 and 1972. This included internal additions and mezzanine floors.
After reunification, another architectural competition resulted in Foster and Partners being appointed to restore the building as a parliamentary center. Foster removed the mezzanine floors inserted by Paul Baumgarten and added a new glass dome to the room. The dome is much celebrated and one of the primary tourist attractions of Berlin. A glass panel in the dome allows visitors to view down into the parliamentary chamber beneath. Much larger than expected, the dome provides great views of the city. Its two spiralling ramps leading visitors to the top provide changing vistas and lighting within the dome itself.