Germany’s most sustainable building is in Berlin, and it’s a beauty. The EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin is a seven-story office complex consisting of two buildings comprising 32,000 square meters of floor space. It has been built by TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten using sustainable, climate and resource-saving techniques. Plus, it has a modular hybrid-timber construction that makes this hybrid-timber building one of the largest in Europe.

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A high-rise rectangular building

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) certified the EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin project Germany’s most sustainable building in 2022. Since the summer of 2022, the building has served as the new German headquarters for energy supplier Vattenfall.

Related: Oregon green building design embraces timber throughout

This project was placed in a new urban district of Berlin that has mixed use buildings designated for housing, work, commercial outlets and cultural events. The larger of the two buildings is shaped like a trapezoid with an irregular footprint, and the second building has an elongated structure. The two buildings together form a street front facing Hedwig-Dohm-Strasse, including a new urban plaza with seating and green space outside.

A complex of high-rises buildings against a clear sky

The larger Carre building contains a light-filled atrium of 26 meters and two-story lobby of sever meters that faces the front plaza. The atrium is covered by a transparent ETFE foil roof supported by wood trusses. Glazed entrance area and panoramic windows complement the building’s floor-to-ceiling office windows for bright views from every angle, also helping to save on energy costs.

An interior dining area with glass ceiling and towering walkways above

Additionally, under the foil roof are four tree trunk-shaped columns of lamellate spruce wood that stretch floor to ceiling like a greenhouse. At the base of each column is green space, surrounded by community and food areas. The “trees” carry platform structures for recreation and leisure at various heights. Filigree steps with white railings link the platforms and lead to office floors. On the fifth floor is a sky lounge with views and an exterior terrace overlooking the city. Wood is used throughout the building to act as support beams and decorative accents, giving the complex a true hybrid appearance. This design concept was developed by de Winder Architekten Berlin.

A walkway that heads toward the upper floors

Moreover, the smaller Solitaire building of the EDGE complex also has a two-story lobby, with offices on floors two to seven located above a ground floor of eateries, and commercial spaces. You can access this second building through the plaza or by way of a central core with safety staircase and two elevators. Outside is a garden landscaped roof deck.

An office and workspace with windows all around

Both buildings are modular in layout for future proofing their functionality, the design avoiding load-bearing interior walls in favor of a circular space with a variety of possible uses. The pillars also house energy systems, including heat and power. The office spaces are air-conditioned via suspended smart ceilings. A basement garage makes space for 218-e-mobility spaces for tenants and 100 bicycle parking spaces with 32 additional exterior spots. All spaces are designed to be barrier free and accessible. Facades use weather resistant glass-fiber concrete panels, making them lightweight and recyclable. The facades also absorb CO2 in their thinly ground cement top layer, which decarbonizes the air around the facility.

An outdoor dining area next to windows leading indoors

EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin is the first project in Germany to be recorded for building construction with a 100% match on the MADASTER material database, with materials that can be reused and recycled. Prefab building panels and modules made construction more efficient with reduced construction waste and time. The hybrid combination of wood and concrete from CREE-Buildings can save up to 50% of CO2 per square meter of floor area compared to a traditional building. Even the roof of the Carre building was designed to be lightweight foil with filigree wood components to ensure better lighting inside and reduced material use while still withstanding wind loads of up to 100 kg.

EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin received the DGNB Platinum certificate with the highest score ever achieved in Germany of 95.4%. The complex was certified with DGNB Diamond for its outstanding design and architectural quality. The project also received a WELL v2 Platinum certification.

+ TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten

Images via HG ESCH and TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten