One of the largest building in the world, the Romanian Palace of the Parliament has a controversial legacy, rooted in the communist regime: over 40.000 displaced people and 7 square km of demolished buildings to accomodate it.
There is no way you can to miss the imposing architecture, even if you are only passing through Bucharest, Romania’s capital.
The Palace of Parliament belongs to an ample project intended to redesign the aspect of Bucharest, in the 8th decade of the 20th Century. The construction of a series of massive buildings was designed with the purpose of exhibiting the power and wealth of the socialist regime.
Also known as the People’ House, during the communist regime, the building has gained international notoriety, partially due to some bewildering statistics related to its construction and its dimensions.
The architecture measures 270m by 240m, its depth underneath the ground is bigger than its hight above (86m high and 92m below ground level). It encloses 3.500 tonnes of crystal, 700.000 tonnes of steel and bronze, one million cubic meters of marble, 5500 tonnes of cement, and 200.000 square meters of woollen carpets (the largest one weights 4 tonnes and measures 600 square metres).
The heavy, impressing building is exposed to risks similar to the ones faced by any large urban infrastructure, such as ground displacement - seasonal subsidence and/or uplift - a natural phenomenon, in the extended urban areas.
Monitoring the ground deformation provides the opportunity to make sure that the buildings are disaster resilient in terms of infrastructure stability. In the satellite era, these risks’ assessment and analysis solutions rely on Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) and Persistent Scatter Interferometry (PSI) technologies.
The Romanian Palace of Parliament was subject to such a risk evaluation, by using radar data processed with PSI technique.
In the image below, satellite radar scans show various points on and around the Palace that are slightly rising (blue, up to 2 mm/year) or sinking (yellow/orange, up to -2 mm/year).