Palace of the Parliament

From Academic Kids

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The Palace of the Parliament
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Another view of the building
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Night view
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The building seen from a neighbouring high-rise.

The Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) in Bucharest, Romania is reputed to be the largest building in Europe at 350,000 m≤. It is probably the third largest building in the world right after The Pentagon and the Merchandise Mart. Measuring 270m by 240m, 86m high, and 92m under ground. It is 12 stories tall, and has four additional underground levels.

Built on the site of a hill variously known as Spirii Hill, Uranus Hill, or Arsenal Hill, which was razed for the project, the building anchors the west end of Unirii Boulevard and the Centru Civic. Construction began in 1984. The building was originally to be known as the House of the Republic (Casa Republicii) and was intended to serve as a palace for Nicolae Ceauşescu. However, the project was just nearing completion at the time of his 1989 overthrow and execution.

Officially renamed first as the House of the People (Casa Poporului) and then the Palace of the People (Palatul Poporului, a name which many Bucharesteans still use to refer to it), it is now known (in the post-Communist era) as the Palace of the Parliament.

The structure combines elements and motifs from multiple recognized architectural styles, making its classification impossible for architectural critics. The building is constructed entirely of materials of Romanian origin; it is reported that during the latter years of construction, this building and the Centru Civic created such a massive demand for Romanian marble that tombstones throughout the country had to be made from other materials.

Since 1994, the building has housed Romania's Chamber of Deputies; the Romanian Senate joined them there in 2004, having previously been housed in the former Communist Party Central Committee building. The Palace also contains a massive array of miscellaneous conference halls, salons, etc., used for a wide variety of other purposes. The structure also houses a museum of modern art.

A recent addition to the building property was a rooftop national flag. Bought early in 2004, it accounted for some $60,000. As part of government spending, the flag was widely regarded as a costly useless buy. The Romanian daily paper Gardianul denounced the expense for its stark contrast with the poor living conditions in many Bucharest boroughs. The standard will be 8 meters tall and visible from any adjacent street angle. An unusual feature is that the flag will automatically turn to utilize incoming airflow. The same newspaper argued that a possible rationale behind the buy was the deputies' vague assumption that funds must be used up entirely by the end of the budget year, as there was fear that further next-year budget requests may not be justified. Similar flags are posted on the European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium as well as the White House in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the flag, a glass annex was built for no publicised reason. An exterior elevator was added which, by all accounts, improves access to most of the still-incomplete west wing.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) opened in 2004 inside the west wing of the Palace of the Parliament. Although the museum is currently open to visitors, it is yet to be fully decorated. Some estimates say the MNAC will be completed in mid-2005.

The cafeteria for use of the legislators has been refurbished recently.

External links

ro:Palatul Parlamentului nl:Paleis van het volk (Roemeni√ƒ¬ƒ√‚¬ę)


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