by Jincy IypeDec 24, 2020
Danish architecture firm 3XN has completed cube berlin, a kaleidoscopic glass monolith in Washington Platz, one of the most prominent squares in the heart of Berlin, Germany. The landmark office building for CA Immo Deutschland features triangulated glass facades and pioneering smart technologies that incorporate latest advances in sustainability, design, digitisation and comfort, emerging as “Europe’s next generation smart office", cube berlin is an integral part of the Europa city masterplan - an emerging urban district surrounding the Berlin main train station,” reveals 3XN’s official press statement.
Completed earlier this year, cube berlin is designed to promote life and activity for the capital city, and reflect sustainability, resilience and a workplace of opportunities and growth. It does so by hosting multi-tenant occupancy, cross-organisational communication, activity-based workstations, shared facilities and lively office layouts.
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. – Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director, 3XN
The chiseled office building occupies a unique and significant location in the midst of a huge public square fronting Berlin’s new Main Railway Station, Lehrter Bahnhof, overlooking the Federal Government Complex across River Spree. “We are honoured to share our design philosophy in such an important location. This project 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. In combining cutting edge design with user comfort, we want to show that healthy, productive places to work can also be sustainable,” shares Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN.
Torben Østergaard, 3XN Partner in Charge of the project, continues, “We wanted to create a building that would contribute to the animation of the square and 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 result is mammoth office architecture that hosts multi-tenant office spaces, a ground-level food market and office lobby, underground parking and plant rooms, a rooftop terrace and optional conference areas enveloped in its iconic glass faceted façade that reflects and interacts with its surroundings. The 10-storey building also features massive floor-to-ceiling windows that provide spectacular views of Berlin landmarks, lets in plentiful daylight and ensures natural ventilation along with external solar shading. The interior design caters to future occupancy demands by hosting flexible office layouts on its floors that are arranged around a central core.
3XN incorporated deliberate geometric alterations, producing prismatic patterns of triangular surface reliefs on the defined form of cube berlin, which retains a cubical volume measuring 42.5 meters in all directions. The dynamic façade is further emphasised by the glassy reflective glazing, inviting intrigue from passers-by. Some parts of it are punched inward to create pockets for outdoor terraces, while the roof essays the role of a ‘fifth façade’. The cheerful rooftop terrace is a common space and can also be used to host events.
“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,” informs Østergaard.
A smart building
cube berlin adds intelligent digital user interfaces in its design, by inviting users to interact with the building via a “bring your own device” approach, reveals 3XN. “This is achieved via an app that drives sustainable behaviour and increases energy efficiency. Smart features allow tenants to customise and control features like access control, indoor heating and cooling, maintenance, energy supply, room and parking reservations, charging of electric cars and bicycles, and much more,” Østergaard continues. All this operational data is stored in a massive “digital brain” server that links the individual systems of cube berlin - energy consumption and flow are constantly monitored, making the office both self-learning and highly energy efficient.
With cube berlin, 3XN manages to animate its dense urban location and explores new routes for the office building to enter into a dialogue with its surroundings and the railway station building. The sculpted structure also becomes a landmark in the district’s masterplan, its dramatic glazed façade providing a mirrored commentary of the Berlin cityscape.
Name: cube berlin
Location: Washington Platz, Berlin, Germany
Area: 19,500 sqm
Client: CA Immo Deutschland
Year of completion: 2020
Architect Souterrain: Maedebach and Redeleit Architekten, Berlin
Structural Engineers: Remmel + Sattler Ingenieurgesellschaft, Frankfurt/Berlin
Façade Engineering: DS-Plan, Stuttgart