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CA Immo finishes cube berlin

CA Immo has finished the office building cube berlin after nearly three years of construction. The free-standing building was erected in a prominent location right on Washingtonplatz at Berlin’s central railway station. CA Immo developed the architecturally spectacular building as a “smart”, completely digitised building in order to be able to make building operation considerably more efficient and to make a wide range of additional services available to the office tenants. cube berlin was completely rented out before it was even complete. CA Immo invested around EUR 100 million in the building. CA Immo had sold the building to the investor Nuveen Real Estate before construction began.

Matthias Schmidt, Managing Director of CA Immo Deutschland GmbH and Head of Development Germany, said, “cube berlin and the unique architecture from 3XN have given the German capital a new sight. Even when the building was being constructed, passers-by stood still to take their pictures in front of the façade, which reflects its surroundings. But, with cube berlin, we also charted new territory in terms of technical innovation. Because the building has been digitised and the digital modules have been networked in one main system, which we call “Brain”, cube berlin can be operated with much greater efficiency, and our tenants can also use it much more efficiently. We aspire to develop not only high-quality but also sustainable buildings in particular, which is to say, structures that save resources and are energy efficient. Using intelligent, digital sensors and self-learning software that learns based on the environment and user behaviour, will be a decisive guarantee for success in future.”

Berlin’s Senate Building Director, Regula Lüscher, also emphasises the premium architectural and urban planning qualities of the building: “Europacity is increasingly taking shape. With cube berlin, an innovative and architecturally exceptional building is being constructed at a prominent location. The striking glass façade and the permeable ground floor zone enrich the public space; at the same time, the building completes Washingtonplatz from an urban planning perspective.”

cube berlin came into being as a free-standing building in a unique location in the middle of Berlin’s Washingtonplatz. The building is located right next to the central railway station and the Spreebogen waterside opposite the Federal Chancellery and the government district. The sides of the cube-shaped building measure 42.5 meters and resemble an abstract, modern sculpture from the outside. The architectural draft came from the drawing board of the renowned architectural firm 3XN in Copenhagen. The creased glass façade reflects the building’s surroundings like a kaleidoscope. Therefore, the building’s appearance changes constantly depending on how the light falls, but cube berlin’s surroundings are also being re-interpreted on an ongoing basis. Dynamic recesses have been cut into the façade to create terraces for the building’s tenants on the 10 upper floors. All of the recesses run along the entire side of the building, but the direction varies from floor to floor. That creates a dialogue-based relationship between the building and its environment. The roof terrace, which is also sculpturally formed, opens up additional usage possibilities for the building’s tenants and gives them views across all of Berlin. While the top ten floors and the roof terrace of the building are reserved exclusively for the office tenants, cube berlin’s ground floor is open to the public. In the coming months, a sort of modern marketplace with numerous, diverse culinary offerings will unfold across a large portion of the area. Additionally, the ground floor houses a two-storey lobby for office users.

CA Immo has created cube berlin as a Smart Commercial Building. The goal of this innovative, prototypical development was to make building operation more efficient by using connected, digital technology while offering the building’s tenants additional services. Tenants’ smartphones are the main operating element here: tenants can use a specially developed building app to operate all of the functions that are relevant for them. What is special about the development, however, is the connectivity of the individual modules into one main system, which is called the Brain. The Brain is a self-learning system that evaluates the diverse data supplied by the sensors. The sensors record information from the surroundings and from the behaviour, habits, preferences and needs of tenants. As a result, operation can be continually optimised, and the users receive individualised information and offerings. For instance, the app enables keyless and touch-free access to the building, since the system recognises whether the person is authorised to enter when they approach the building. If they are authorised, the system opens the respective entrance. The lift control mechanism is also integrated into the system, which means lift trips can be controlled and provisioned much more efficiently. However, users can also use the app to control light and room climate, as well as external shutters, and to book rooms and workplaces remotely according to their own needs or access additional offers, such as a package station in the building, or external services, such as food delivery or cleaning services.

The digitalisation concept was developed by CA Immo with support from the consulting firm Drees & Sommer. They focused considerably on defining the fields of application (use cases), as well as the selection of digital modules and sensors. The digital components were tested since summer of 2017 – especially their connected interaction. An extensive test laboratory was constructed for this purpose at RWTH Aachen University. Digital security, known as cyber security, was an additional focus. To minimise the risk of a digital attack on the building by hackers, several intensive penetration tests were successfully carried out.

CA Immo worked with the PropTech start-up Thing Technologies to develop the building app and the main control software. In the meantime, the software developed is being used in other office building developments and is essentially independent of the digital modules and sensors. CA Immo is now also testing the technology in the rental space of an earlier finished building with the goal of being able to equip other office buildings from its own portfolio with it in future as well.

cube berlin met with very large demand on Berlin’s office market thanks to its convincing overall concept. That made it possible to lease out all rental spaces long before the building was finished. The tenants are the law firm Gleiss Lutz, Deutsche Bahn, RA-MICRO, Hering Schuppener, Gallup and Coffee Fellows. As a general tenant, Coffee Fellows will operate the approximately 1,000 m² of culinary space on the ground floor. To this end, the company has developed a concept based on a modern marketplace and will create diverse culinary offerings by subleasing space. The first office tenants will be moving in starting in March 2020. The remaining moves will take place afterwards and last through the summer.

With cube berlin, the last component of the southern area of Europacity has now been completed. In recent years, CA Immo had developed the urban planning concept for five additional buildings here. CA Immo realised two of these buildings itself (“John F. Kennedy Haus” and the “IntercityHotel Hauptbahnhof”) and incorporated these buildings into its portfolio. The other building plots were sold to investors, who have constructed two additional hotels and an office building.

CA Immo is one of the largest developers for the Europacity area, which measures a total of approx. 60 hectares and is located around Berlin’s central railway station. The company has already realised a large number of office buildings for its own portfolio. The opening project for this was the high-rise building “Tour Total” that was finished in 2012. Since that time, other modern office buildings followed in the form of “Monnet 4”, an office building for the company KPMG, the “Bürgebäude am Kunstcampus” and “MY.B”. CA Immo is currently realising another high-rise with over 23,000 m² of rental space at this location. The company KPMG is CA Immo’s exclusive tenant here as well. Additionally, construction of another high-rise bearing the project name “Upbeat” is being planned at Nordhafen, the northern gateway to Europacity. The building application is currently being prepared for the building, where approximately 29,000 m² of rental space is planned. Construction could yet begin this year. However, CA Immo is not focusing only on Europacity in Berlin. The company has numerous office buildings in central locations, including City West and near Potsdamer Platz. Here, the company also began developing another office building with about 13,000 m² of rental space on Hallesches Ufer at the beginning of the year. It is named “Grasblau”.

Like all CA Immo project developments, cube berlin was developed as a Green Building. During such developments, the company makes sure to comply with strict sustainability criteria from the planning phase to operation. To increase the building’s energy efficiency in particular, CA Immo also used a large number of innovative solutions when developing cube berlin’s glass façade. For instance, the heat generated by sunlight and the building’s heat are used to cool fresh air fed into the building. Additionally, the panes have a solar coating that keeps the inner rooms from heating up in the summer as much as possible. This effect is supported by an automated sun protection system located in the façade’s interspace, which also increases tenants’ comfort. Using this technical innovation made it possible not only fall below the requirements of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) by more than 25% but also to generate approx. 50 % of the primary energy used by the building regeneratively via heat recovery and by using solar thermal plants. The balanced mix of ecological, social and economic sustainability criteria will, in the end, make it possible for the building to receive a Gold certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

In addition to sustainability, nowadays it is critical for tenants that a building have a very good and fail-safe connection to the Internet. That is why CA Immo’s project development also devotes a good deal of attention to this issue. Consequently, cube berlin is one of the first buildings in Germany to receive a Platinum WiredScore certification – as best in class. The certificate testifies that the building fulfils the highest possible standards in terms of connectivity, digital infrastructure and future-proofing.

 

cube berlin data & facts

Address/LocationWashingtonplatz, Berlin-Mitte, Europacity
Architect3XN Architects, Copenhagen
Building typefree-standing office building
Primary usageoffices
Heightapprox. 42.5 meters
Floors11
Underground garage1 underground floor with 98 car parking spaces and storage spaces
Gross floor spaceapprox. 19,500 m²
Lettable spaceapprox. 17,000 m²
Rental space per floorapprox. 1,370 m² per floor
Start of construction2017
CompletionFebruary 2020
CertificationsAiming to achieve DGNB Gold; WiredScore Platinum

 

Images

Images of cube berlin can be found in the image archive in the Press section at www.caimmo.com using the keyword “cube” or downloaded at this link.