Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Parliament building on Thursday. Once completed, the building will be the centerpiece of the Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista project, a grand redevelopment project, which will also house a common central secretariat and a revamped 3-km Rajpath. The existing Parliament building, which was constructed by the British during the colonial era, might be converted into a museum. Estimated to cost Rs 971 crore, the Central Vista will be built over 64,500 sq m. It will be triangular in shape and the interiors will feature the three national symbols – the lotus, the banyan tree and the peacock. The Supreme Court, however, has not given the go-ahead for construction to begin. Every nation has a parliament building, the seat of the legislative body of the government of that country. Parliamentary buildings have traditionally been designed to evoke feelings of grandeur and a sense of national pride. Most countries invest a lot of time and money into the upkeep of their Houses of Parliament. Let’s take a look at some of the most magnificent parliament buildings in the world.
The Capitol, Washington D.C:
The seat of the United States Congress, the Capitol Building, is an example of 19th century neo-classical architecture, with domes and porticos inspired by ancient Greek and Roman styles of construction. The enormous structure, which sits atop the Capitol Hill, is about 1.5 million square feet in size and houses 600 rooms. Constructed in 1793, under the leadership of President George Washington the structure houses the Hall of Commons, the Brumidi Corridors, the old Supreme Court chamber, the Crypt, The Senate and the chamber of the house of representative, among other offices.
Sansad Bhavan, New Delhi
Amongst the most beautiful Parliamentary buildings in the world is India’s Parliamentary House, located in Raisina hill New Delhi. The Sansad Bhavan was designed in 1912-13 by well-known British architect Herbert Baker using the Indo-Saracenic architecture. The actual construction started in 1921 and was completed in 1927. The project cost Rs 83 lakhs. The Sansad Bhavan has three semi-circular chambers and a dome inside. The circular building, supported by 144 columns on the outside, is made of Dholpur sandstone, while the building has traces of Mughal and Rajasthani designs. This four-floored, 1000-room structure holds the meetings of the most important cabinets.
Palace of the Parliament, Romania:
This stunning structure is the fourth largest building in the world. Constructed over a span of 13 years, from 1984 to 1997, the design of the Romanian Parliament was conceived by the country’s dictator Nicolae Ceauscseu during his infamous Communist regime. It took 700 architects and 20,000 workers who laboured day and night to complete the construction of this building. The humongous parliament building looms large at 84 metres with 12 floors and over a thousand rooms, all meticulously decorated. There are beautiful ball rooms, banquet halls and marble floor staircases. There are even eight underground levels with secret tunnels for escape.
Binnenhof, The Hague, Netherlands:
The meeting place of the States-General of the Netherlands is located in the Binnenhof, a complex of buildings located in central Hague. The impressive complex houses the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights), erected in the 13th and 14th centuries, the senate, the Council of ministers, the prime minister’s office and the House of Representatives. It originally functioned as the residence of the counts of Holland, until it became the center of political power in 1584.
The Reichstag, Berlin:
The official headquarters of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, the Reichstag is a much sought-after landmark in Berlin. It has witnessed many government changes in the past, including the notorious Nazi regime. Kaiser Wilhelm I started the construction process in 1884 and it took 10 years to complete. The famous dome and chamber were damaged in a fire and also during the WWII. After numerous renovation bids, a new glass dome was added to the building, adding to its splendor.
Parliament of Budapest, Hungary:
Amongst the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Parliament building of Budapest is one of the oldest legislative buildings in Europe. The construction began in 1885 and extended to 1902, when the structure was complete. The Hungarian Parliament, the third-largest parliament building in the world, is 268 m long, 123 m wide and 96 m tall. It boasts of 691 rooms and 10 courtyards, and is designed in a neo-Gothic style. The Parliament Building has stood strong through two World Wars and many revolts.
Palace of the Westminster, London:
Among Europe’s most famous attractions, this particular parliament complex, also known as the Houses of Parliament, is one of the most renowned structures in the world. The UNESCO world heritage building houses the House of Commons and House of Lords. The buildings in the Northern bank of River Thames were constructed in the 10th century. Since then, they have been redeveloped and renovated on many occasions. One of the most famous portions of the structure is the Elizabeth tower, which houses the Big Ben. With around 1100 rooms, 100 staircases and long corridors, the palace is quite an impressive one.
Houses of Parliaments, Cape Town:
Built from 1875 to 1885 by architects Charles Freeman and Henry Greeves Herbert Baker, the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town has been the centre of many political upheavals and debates, including the South African Anglo Boer War, the World Wars and the transition to the African National Congress. There are three sections to the building, built during different times. It houses the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces. Created with a neoclassical Cape Dutch style of architecture, the building has undergone many renovations. The Parliament Building is set against the picturesque Table Mountains.
Beehive, Wellington, New Zealand
What earns this Parliament House a place on the list is its rather unique design resembling a beehive. Designed by New Zealand architect, Fergus Sheppard, the construction of the Parliamentary House began in 1969 and ended in 1981. The Beehive is also a metonym used for the New Zealand leadership. This 10-storied building is 72 metres high, has a Cabinet room, the prime minister’s office, banqueting halls and function halls. It also houses a theatre, gym and a swimming pool. 20 tons of Copper were to make the roof.
Central Block, Ottawa:
A huge clock tower, called the Peace Tower, that stands in the middle of the building is one of the most striking features of the Parliamentary Complex of the Canadian Parliament. The Central Block houses the House of Commons and Senate Chamber, along with other Government offices. It also houses the Memorial Chambers, commemorating Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in military service. The original building was destroyed in a fire in 1916 and all that remains of the original is the Library of Parliament, which has fireproof doors. In 1966, a Canadian man Paul Joseph Chartier got killed when a bomb he had been preparing to throw into the floor of House of Commons, detonated accidently.