Susan Slesinger – Architecture -Das Reichstag

Das Reichstag

reichstag for blog 

The Reichstag is the German parliamentary building.  The building was completed in 1894 following German unification and the establishment of the German Reich in 1871.  It was designed by Paul Wallot.  The original building included a glass and steel dome.  A fire in 1933 destroyed the plenary chamber.  The building fell into disuse during and after World War II.  After World War II the German parliament met in Bonn. 

The Reichstag was located in West Berlin, almost adjacent to the Berlin Wall.  The original dome had to be demolished in 1954. The building was partially restored in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s and was used for parliamentary committee meetings and exhibitions.  Following reunification, a vote was taken and it was decided that the Bundestag would return to Berlin.  The Reichstag building required major renovations and modernization. British architect, Lord Norman Foster was hired to perform this work.  His original design did not include a dome, but the Bundestag asked him to revise the roof design. He recreated the concept of a glass dome on the roof, using it as an environmentally friendly feature.  The dome lets daylight into the plenary chamber, as well as providing natural ventilation.  The light and ventilation are managed with louvered glass windows and a mirror system built into the dome. The top of the dome is open to the elements, and a spiraling walkway allows visitors to gradually ascend to the top of the dome while enjoying 360 degree vistas of Berlin.  The Bundestag returned to Berlin in 1999.

I visited the Reichstag in October 2015, on a grey, windy, rainy day.  The rain came into the dome, creating a glistening floor.  The photograph which we took illustrates the graphic nature of the dome.  The windows were replicated using Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry’s applipiecing technique. The vertical steel beams were stenciled onto the background using Tsukineko ink.  The central element which enables visitors to see the plenary chamber was isolated and printed onto silk organza.

Techniques: applipiecing, photo-transfer onto silk organza, stenciling, machine applique, machine quilting

Materials: Commercially printed, hand dyed and hand painted cotton fabrics, Tsukineko ink, cotton batting, Invisifil, 100 wt silk, Monopoly and Aurifil threads.



  1. joanbrailsford

    Your treatment of the subject is really well done, and the finished piece is alsmost photographic. I love the colors you have chosen for the glass

  2. What attention to detail — I agree with the photographic nature of your interpretation, and am intrigued by the layering and stitch involved.

  3. An interesting piece,the colours work well.

  4. English quilter

    Thank you for your comments. I pieced and stenciled the background but did the quilting before appliqueing the sheer element, stitching it through all three layers.

  5. A very interesting shape for a building : your quilt is such a good reproduction of the picture ! I like the photo transfer on organza, it works very well.

  6. Hi Susan, it’s been a long time! So glad to find your little architectural gem here – love it!

  7. English quilter

    Bozena–_Thank you for tracking me down. I appreciate you taking a look at our work.


    What an interesting piece of history, accompanied by a beautiful translation in textiles. Nice use of colour and stitching and your stencil.

  9. A lovely interpretation of the photo very realistic.

  10. I have been there and this piece brought me back in time. It is such a beautiful building and your interpretation is wonderful. Well done.

  11. Els thank you. It is a building I would to revisit on a less gloomy day.

  12. A very precise piece with lots of detail.

  13. I was in the Reichstag and loved the building.You did a great job with this quilt. Good use of techniques.

  14. A wonderful piece which conveys the shape of the building and the dome. Unfortunately we only saw it from the bus in 2014. An amazing building and your choice of colour and stitching are just perfect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: