Cube berlin is an eye-catching 11-story office building located on Washington Platz in Europa City, a downtown part of Berlin. The 19,000-square-meter building, developed by CA Immo, is a prime example of reconciling innovative design with complex technical guidelines (both structural and energy) for a "smart" commercial building.
Cube berlin, designed by Copenhagen-based studio 3XN Architects, stands out thanks to its fully glazed, ventilated, double-skin façade, integrating the building with the surrounding environment. The unique facade, created specifically for this project, not only realizes the architect's aesthetic goals, but also meets high structural and energy-saving requirements.
Thanks to the combination of glass used, the facade reflects elements of the environment from all sides. The building dynamically changes its appearance - depending on the angle of observation, weather conditions or time of day. The building's dynamic facade consists of an inner skin of thermally insulated, stepped glass, and an outer glass shell, using triangular elements to give the facade a unique character. Building users have access to fresh air through tilt-up elements and balconies located on selected floors on all four sides of the building.
Torben Østergaard, a partner at 3XN and the architect responsible for the project, comments:
We wanted to shape the building in such a way that it could fit into the urban space, the surrounding buildings and reflect the atmosphere of Washington Platz. So in order to create a kind of sculpture that enlivens the entire square, we looked for reflective glass that would highlight the surface of the building while reflecting the image of the surroundings.
Another important design consideration was to give its users access to as much daylight as possible. Torben Østergaard continues, "Since the floor slabs are quite deep, we were keen to create a fully glazed façade - not only to achieve the best possible lighting conditions, but also, to provide amazing views."
cube Berlin, proj.: 3XN Architects
photo: Adam Mørk © 3XN | Guardian Glass
In addition to its unique architecture, the project stands out for its energy-saving properties - its energy requirements are lower than those of traditional office buildings. The double-skin façade played a key role in this regard. In addition to letting sunlight into the building, it also provides effective protection against overheating of the building's interior, while allowing users to benefit from natural ventilation.
According to Joachim Fauth, project leader, who is responsible for facade design at Drees & Sommer:
"To prevent overheating of the spaces between the facade skins, we used solar control coatings and a heat-absorbing PVB film in the composition of the outer skin.
Matthias Schmidt, Head of Development at CA Immo:
We are hoping that the project will receive a DGNB gold certificate. The facade is extremely energy efficient, and by using technology that allows, among other things, energy recovery from solar heat, it is an effective solution that contradicts the notion that glass buildings consume huge amounts of energy.
Another challenge was the production of structural glazing. We decided to use an additional special film as a structural layer, which had to be compatible with the solar-absorbing PVB film. The solution was created from scratch, and the necessary permits had to be obtained during the design and construction phase. By using an additional structural film, we increased the stability of the glazing edges while reducing the risk of delamination of the laminated glass.
Joachim Fauth of Drees & Sommer, façade consultant for the project, comments:
It takes real teamwork to design such a complex solution, and this is what we were able to achieve during the design phase, when the glass supplier, the PVB film supplier, the architect and the facade consultant all participated in the collaboration.
cube Berlin, proj.: 3XN Architects
Photo: Adam Mørk © 3XN | Guardian Glass
Expert knowledge and technical support
In addition to supplying the glass, the Guardian Glass team involved in this project supported the contractors with their technical expertise during the design phase.
According to Olivier Beier Costa, Sales Manager at Guardian Glass:
The biggest challenge was the simultaneous realization of two objectives: first, the design vision and aesthetic concept, and second, meeting the technical requirements of the building. In order to select products that met the design criteria, we conducted various tests, made many calculations, and produced many samples to best model the chosen glazing composition.
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