The Internet of Things has arrived at the office. By the bank of the Spree River, the multi-tenant Cube Berlin building in the German capital is at the bleeding edge of digitally integrated architecture, touting a “learning brain” that encourages sustainable user behaviour while also offering employees an almost unprecedented degree of control over their environments.
What does that all mean? Designed by architects 3XN, the complex – which will welcome its first commercial tenants in March – features a bespoke app-based control system that allows users to coordinate room bookings, elevator operation, maintenance, access, and climate and light control and more. While the app facilitates streamlined and efficient environments, its AI “learning” mechanism hints at a more radical workplace evolution.
In a complex (mostly) without assigned workspaces, the self-learning system is designed to foster collaboration and reduced energy use. According to 3XN, it can “drive sustainable behaviour and make the working day more efficient.”
It elaborates that “users will be able to identify the optimal workspace based on their personal preferences, the location of co-workers, and energy use throughout the building at any given time.” By tracking both working habits and building energy consumption, the app helps guide users to optimal locations.
For instance, an employee who prefers quiet can use the app to find a relatively quiet environment. By contrast, members of more collaborative teams will be able to see the location of their colleagues and choose their workspaces accordingly.
Commissioned by Austrian real estate giant CA Immo, the dynamic 10-storey building may be a portend of the future of work. But there’s more to it than an app. It’s the architecture, as much as the internet, that makes Cube Berlin more than a box.
Defined by its crystalline triangular glazing, 3XN’s articulated facade lends the building a sculptural presence, while also opening up spaces for workplace terraces on multiple levels. The double-skin glazing is also contoured to mitigate heat gain, while creating a naturally ventilated environment inside.
On the street, the varied, triangulated glass gives the building an inviting, legible presence on Washington Platz, with the articulated facade also carving out sheltered alcoves at the entrances. Inside, a food market will animate the ground floor, giving Berliners a new destination in the rapidly developing “Europa City” district. And when the sun hits the sculpted glass just so, it gives the city a new architectural icon, too.
Featuring an innovative “learning brain,” the 10-storey Cube Berlin hints at the future of the workplace.