German automation company Festo creates fantastic engineering-driven designs, from 3D-printing robots and remote-controlled flying objects to automated designs that use biomimicry to catch the wind. The firm now has a brand new office building that is equally innovative. Located in Southern Germany, Festo's AutomationCenter features a smart automated glass facade that outsmarts Germany's strict energy standards.
The 67-meter-high (220 feet), diamond-shaped office building has a reinforced concrete structure consisting of 16 floors and two basements. Two shafts with glass lifts provide additional stability in the pointed corners.
The facade was designed to shield the interior from excessive sunlight using an inside glare-protection screen with room-temperature inner surface. Custom-controlled, this system has a dynamically adaptable solar energy transmittance. A ventilation channel positioned between the screen and the exterior envelope functions as an insulation buffer that absorbs the heat from the sun.
A 3-inch thick modular system comprises the facade, with a layer of operable windows with electrochromic glass panels. The electric current incorporated into the panels regulate the level of opacity. The system was completed last July and has since proved highly efficient. Even at exterior temperatures of over 100°F, the room temperature remained constant, cutting the amount of energy needed for cooling.