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Cube Berlin
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ManufacturersGuardian Glass

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Fern Task chair by Haworth
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Cube Berlin

3XN as Architects

Opening of cube berlin:

Europe’s Next Generation Smart Office

 

Copenhagen, Denmark – CA Immo, client of Danish architecture firm 3XN, announced yesterday the opening of cube berlin. This sculptural, iconic building features pioneering smart office technologies, and is situated in the heart of Berlin on the historically significant site, Washingtonplatz. As one of Berlin’s new emerging public spaces, this site provides the ideal setting for this new landmark that showcases latest advances in sustainability, design, digitization, and comfort. cube berlin is an integral part of the Europacity masterplan - an emerging urban district surrounding the Berlin main train station.

 

“We are honoured to share our design philosophy in such an important location,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN. “With cube berlin, we suggest that a new architectural path for commercial architecture is possible. An office building can actually look like a piece of art – and this is a notion that we knew was important for a city like Berlin. This project also creates new moments of interaction with the city. We can already see that pedestrians are attracted to the cube; they enjoy catching their reflections in the glass. At the same time, cube berlin showcases the smartest building advances in Germany. In combining cutting edge design with user comfort, we want to show that healthy, productive places to work can also be sustainable.”

 

Torben Østergaard, 3XN Partner in Charge of the project continues, “When we began the design process, our ambition was to create a building that would contribute to the animation of the square. We wanted to engage by-passers while providing top notch office spaces. We also wanted this project to offer new value to the Berlin skyline, while exploring new ways for buildings to interact with their surroundings. Given the conditions of the location, we proposed a sculpted design approach that would reflect the site’s scale and honour its character as an important public space.

 

The resulting design provides outside terraces at all levels, which are integrated in the façade. The triangulated relief of the façade is emphasised via reflective glazing, which invites street-level viewers to experience their city in unexpected - almost kaleidoscopic - ways. In the end, cube berlin presents an interesting paradox: it is a wildly complex sculpture disguised as a highly streamlined iteration.”

 

Program Highlights

cube berlin offers 10 floors of flexible, multi-tenant office space; a ground-level food market and office lobby; underground parking & plant rooms, a rooftop terrace; and optional conference areas. In total, cube berlin spans 19.500 m² of highly flexible, modular above-ground space.

 

When commercial tenants begin building occupation in March 2020, they will enjoy such features as floor to ceiling windows offering stunning vistas of Berlin landmarks including Tiergarten, Kanzleramt, Reichstag; abundant natural daylight; natural ventilation via opening windows; external solar shading; and outdoor terraces on all floors. Outside, cube berlin presents unprecedented opportunities for pedestrian activation in and around this highly dense, urban site – created by plazas and gathering spaces surrounding the building.

 

Thoughtful, Sculptural Design

cube berlin is designed to be a catalyst for social experiences – both inside and out. Therefore, the design aims to animate the prominent urban location and engage in a dialogue with the site’s busy square. All four facades support interaction between the building occupants and the surrounding environment, deliberately creating a subtle boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces.

 

cube berlin also reinterprets the idea of the cube, due to reflective glazing that mirrors both the adjacent nature and skyline. While the defining geometry of the structure maintains a true cubical volume measuring 42.5 meters in all directions, 3XN has created deliberate geometric transformations that create a prismatic pattern of triangular surface reliefs. 

Segments of the façade are pushed inward in order to create outdoor terraces at all levels. The roof is envisioned as a “fifth façade” and completes the concept of the cube. A vast rooftop terrace serves as a common space for tenants and can be used as a breakout or event space. Surrounding Berlin landmarks are reflected in all angles of the façade, allowing this landmark structure to shed a dynamic new light on its surroundings, both day and night.

Inside, cube berlin is designed to cater to future demands for flexible office layouts and can accommodate shifting structural needs. The floors are arranged around a central core and can be divided into a mixture of separate units or connected via internal atria. 3XN’s design encourages communication and social activity through dynamic workplace constellations available in a wide range of sizes.

 

Digital “Brain”
cube berlin is a next generation smart building that sets new standards for the integration of intelligent digital user interfaces. Users are invited to interact with the building through a “bring your own device” approach. This is achieved via an app that drives sustainable behaviour and increases energy efficiency while reducing unnecessary operational costs and maintenance irregularities.

 

In this way, users can interact with their workspaces in unprecedented ways. Smart features allow tenants to customize and control such features as: access control, indoor heating and cooling, maintenance, energy supply, room and parking reservations, charging of electric cars / bicycles, and more.

Building operational information is stored in a large “digital brain” server that connects the individual intelligent systems of cube berlin. Energy flow and consumption are monitored and maximized, resulting in a building that is both self-learning and highly efficient. In this way, the building and its users enter into an interplay where both are learning from each other. The building learns to adjust to the preferences of its users, while the users can control and adapt the building’s settings according to their desires and needs.

 

Energy Efficient Glazed Façade
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the fully glazed façade of cube berlin is highly energy efficient due to its osmotic skin and thoughtful design that includes a pioneering application of solar coatings on the outer skin of the double façade. This, in addition to a suite of technical solutions that include energy capture from heat, allow cube berlin to perform as a highly energy effective fully glazed building.

 

Architecturally, cube berlin’s fully glazed façade provides a dramatic commentary on the Berlin cityscape, while the technical performance of the material allows for an energy performance and control that will allow the building to pursue a DNGB Gold certification.

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cube berlin

Guardian Glass as Manufacturers

cube berlin: Double skin façade that meets complex aesthetic and technical performance requirements

cube berlin is an eye-catching, 11-storey office building located at Washington Platz in the Europacity urban district of Berlin. This 19,000 square-metre structure, developed by CA Immo, is an excellent example of how innovative architectural design can be successfully combined with the complex technical (structural and energy performance) requirements of an ‘intelligent’ commercial building.


Designed by 3XN Architects of Copenhagen, cube berlin stands out due to its fully glazed, double skin ventilated fascade that integrates the building into the surrounding environment. The unique, custom-designed façade not only meets the aesthetics required by the architect, but also meets the high structural and energy performance requirements.


Due to the combination of glass used in the fully glazed façade, the aesthetics are visually appealing, reflecting the building’s surroundings on all sides and dynamically changing its appearance depending on the viewing angle, the weather and time of day. The dynamic façade uses a stepped thermal façade beneath an outer glass skin, which wraps the building in a triangular pattern. Access points are introduced through a set of articulated openings in the outer skin on all four sides and on multiple floors.


Torben Østergaard, partner at 3XN and architect on the project comments: “Our initial idea was to sculpt the building so that it would enter a dialogue with the urban space, the surrounding buildings and life at Washington Platz. In order to make the building work as a sculpture on the square we were looking for reflective glass that emphasises the surface while also visually reflecting the surroundings…


Another important design element was to maximise natural daylight for the building’s occupants. As Torben Østergaard states: “As the floor plates are rather deep, we were aiming at a fully glazed façade, not only to produce the best possible daylight conditions but also to allow for the particular feel of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer great outside views.”


Energy efficient
As well as its stunning architecture, the project also stands out due to its high level of commitment to environmental sustainability, with reduced energy consumption compared to traditional office buildings. The ventilated double skin façade was a crucial factor here. As well as being a natural daylight provider, the façade also offers effective protection against (solar) heat gain, while allowing the occupants to benefit from natural ventilation. As Joachim Fauth of Drees & Sommer, façade consultant on the project states: “To prevent overheating of the cavity, we put solar control coatings and solar absorbing PVB layers in the outer skin.”


Matthias Schmidt, Head of Development at Investor CA Immo states: “We are aiming for DGNB Gold certification on this project. The design of the façade is actually very energy efficient and together with a clever technical concept that, among other things, includes regaining energy from heat, adds up in total to an effective energy solution that will negate the common idea that glass buildings are severe energy spenders.”


Another challenge was the structural make-up of the glass. This meant adding another structural interlayer, which had to be compatible with the solar absorbing PVB interlayer. This solution was developed from scratch and national approval had to be sought during the design and construction phase. By adding this extra structural interlayer, edge stability was increased, and the risk of delamination lowered, while reducing the yellowness index.


Joachim Fauth says: “To design such a complex product, you need real teamwork, which is exactly what happened during the design phase, with the glass supplier, the PVB supplier, the architect and the façade consultant all working closely together.”


Expert advice and technical support
In addition to supplying coated glass products Guardian Glass team involved in the project also provided technical expertise.


As Olivier Beier Costa, Guardian Glass Sales Manager who worked on the project states: “The biggest challenge was to combine two things: first of all, the design and aesthetic concept of the architect and secondly, the technical requirements of the building, so we had to identify the right products that could be used for such an application. That involved the performance of various tests and calculations, as well as the production of many samples.”


Guardian Glass
-Guardian SunGuard® HD Diamond 66 Ultra and SuperNeutral SN 62/34 solar control glass.
-Guardian ClimaGuard® Premium2 thermal insulating glass.
-Guardian UltraClear® low-iron float glass.

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Gallup Offices – Berlin

GRAEF as Interior Architect

Gallup is a global analytics and advice firm that helps leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Gallup knows more about the will of employees, customers, suppliers, students and citizens than anyone in the world and knows what matters most to them at work and in life and how those priorities change over time. And they use that knowledge to create transformation.

 

In the summer of 2020, the research-based management consultancy Gallup moved into the futuristic “cube berlin”. The cube not only impresses with its highly prominent location between the main train station and the government quarter, but also with its kaleidoscope-like reflecting façade. At the same time, it is one of the most intelligent office buildings in Europe. As a “smart building”, it learns from its users and adapts to their needs in order to generate energy savings and offer users engaging digital services.

 

The idea of a sculpturally shaped building, that enters into a dialogue with users and the city landscape, is continued in the formal language of the furnishing and lighting of Gallup’s office space. This is reflected in triangular, deconstructivistically arranged shapes and dynamic lines that continue from wooden inlays to metal struts and flooring. This holistic approach to design, together with the usage requirements of Gallup, merge into a clever and aesthetic symbiosis.

 

The balance of a highly technological workplace vs. our human nature with basic needs for warm materials and comfort is achieved with human-centric lighting, combined with nature-oriented design elements. Delicately applied colors emphasize the combination of high-quality surfaces with their heterogeneous structures.

 

The reception and lobby offer a spectacular view of the heart of the city and at the same time make this area the central meeting point for employees and customers alike.

 

Closed meeting rooms are skillfully placed to alternate with open work surfaces. The booths, which are oriented towards the building core, offer space for retreat and for concentrated work. The training room, with all furniture such as tables, chairs, whiteboards, lectern and TV pedestal on castors, offers maximum flexibility for training sessions. Directly adjacent is the Board Room. As the most representative meeting room, it is completed with high-end furniture and state-of-the-art meeting technology. A tea kitchen in the lounge, the staff kitchen and other functional rooms complete the space.

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Project Credits
3XN
Architects
Manufacturers
Interior Architect
Investor/Project Developer
Consultant in façade engineering, energy design and green building certification
Façade Engineering / Mechanical & Electrical Engineers
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