Federal Ministry for Education and Research
A Sustainable Urban Building Block
The restrained architectural design of the new building orients itself toward the existing urban landscape of the Spreebogen. As a connecting link among the structures along the riverbank, the free-standing building calms its heterogeneous urban setting with its continuous roofline and clearly structured facade. The entrance area is defined by a staggered arrangement of public, semipublic and private space. Inside, the focus is on the quality of the office ambiance. Lacking as it does any parapet, the façade permits an unobstructed view from the desk into the urban space. The energy supply for the building was designed with a holistic approach in conjunction with specialist planners. The integrative planning team came up with a concept in which 80% of the electrical energy is generated internally. A smart grid optimises the combination of the individual system components – gas-operated fuel cell, cogeneration unit, photovoltaic panels on the roofs and façade – taking into account actual load ranges. Under the aspect of sustainability, 27 years of operation was calculated.
Design concept – urban planning – representative role
The new centre of Berlin around Berlin's main railway station ("Hauptbahnhof"), the "Band des Bundes" and the River Spree forms the urban planning background for the new Ministry of Education and Research. The new building fits into the overriding model of the building development on the Spreebogen(2) as a striking city element and forms a clear address. Due to the consistent structural orientation along the building line facing the River Spree it presents an integral link in the sequence of the surrounding embankment building development and effectively calms the heterogeneous surroundings.
The six storey building is made up of two U-shaped office tracts which are linked by a spatially set-back middle strip. The centrally position main entrance to the Ministry is defined by the staggering of public, semi-public and private space and creates and open and inviting atmosphere. A flight of front stairs lead from the foyer to the conference area on the first floor with a clear view of the Regierungsviertel.
The detached building has a uniform appearance all round with a façade made of natural stone. The ground floor zone is formed as a perceivable plinth, above which the upper storeys of the office zones can be recognised by their tectonically shaped façade. Different façade elements made of photovoltaic and recycled glass panels break up the grid-patterned façade, creating an attractive play of colours in different shades of green. The natural stone is continued as a design element in the interior of the entrance area and conference storey and is combined with larch wood. Both materials were produced in Europe.
The Federal Ministry follows the highest standards of sustainability and is certified with "gold" level under the rating system for sustainable building for federal buildings (BNB - "Nachhaltiges Bauen für Bundesgebäude"). Apart from its very good overall quality according to the BNB system, the building has a range of above-average individual qualities with regard to sustainable building. These include its low energy requirement, the use of innovative technical systems (cogeneration with block heating plant and fuel cell, thermoactive air-conditioned ceilings for heating, cooling and ventilation, photovoltaic modules integrated in the façade), the verified pollutant prevention in the materials used, comprehensive accessibility and the integrative approach in the implementation of art in architecture.
Working environment for 1,000 employees
One of the focuses of the design is placed on a high quality of time spent in the offices. The floor plan organisation in u-shaped building wings allows an optimum orientation of the offices to the surrounding city landscape and to the neighbouring government buildings. The interior courts with their sound insulation and plants open towards the railway embankments, which give the office zones, which are located towards the inside of the building, an equivalent quality for time spent in the office.
The external sun protection lamellas in the offices are fitted with a light control in the upper third for pleasant working with the greatest possible exploitation of the daylight. The interior glare protection is also designed with a high light transmission in the upper area so that the additional lighting in the offices can also be waived in the closed condition of the external lamellas.