The large, white, cubic Secession Building was designed by architect Joseph Maria Olbrich in 1897 as the manifesto of the Secessionist movement. The exhibition hall opened in October 1898. Most of the original interior was looted during World War II and the building was left in a desolate state until the passion for Viennese Art Nouveau was rediscovered in the 1970s and the pavilion rescued from decay. The building is quite sober and only uses two colours, white and gold. Due to its massive, unbroken walls, the construction has the appearance of being constructed from a series of solid cubes. The most prominent feature of the otherwise clean design is the dome, made of 3,000 gilt laurel leaves. The laurel symbolizes victory, dignity and purity. Today the structure is one of the most treasured examples of a particularly Viennese artistic period (text from website Traveldk).