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 people displaced and 7 square km of demolished buildings to make room for 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 establishment.

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, is taller underneath the ground (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 has 600 square metres).

The heavy, impressing building is exposed to challenges faced by any large urban infrastructure, such as ground displacement - seasonal subsidence and/or uplift - a natural phenomenon, in the extended urban areas.

Monitoring 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 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).

 

 

 

 


 

The analysis covered the period of 2011–2014, and the PSI technique was used due to its versatility with hard structures such as buildings, roads or railways. Its accuracy is up to millimetres per year, and can trace weak spots in such structures.

The deformation map was produced by TERRASIGNA, and our PSI technique capabilities were recognised by becoming the first East-European validated PSI service provider, within Terrafirma project.

Terrafirma is an ESA Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) service that supports the process of risk assessment and mitigation by using latest technology for measuring terrain motion from satellite radar data.
It offers PSI providers the opportunity to undergo the validation procedure in cooperation with German Aerospace Centre DLR, in order to determine their PSI accuracies and reliabilities in given circumstances, and to prove the validity of their PSI processing chain.

Persistent Scatter Interferometry is a state of the art technology. Several companies offer, at international level, operational PSI monitoring services, but only few are validated PSI providers, according to Terrafirma standards.

Monitoring the Palace of the Parliament is an example of how managing risks can be done in a proactive manner.
Understanding the causes of risk mitigates future possible disasters.