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Futurium, Berlin: Where the future is now

The »Futurium« – a joint project by the German Ministry of Education and Research, scientific organisations, foundations and various research companies – aims to provide insights into the world of tomorrow and present scenarios for possible futures through exhibitions, events and the laboratory. Using two large-scale screens, visitors are able to keep these future worlds connected to the reality of the world outside.

Alexanderufer 2, 10117 Berlin/DE
Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben, Berlin/DE, mit Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Berlin/DE
Richter Musikowski, Berlin/DE
Construction period:
2015 – 2017
5.635 m2
Gross floor area:
14.007 m2

The overall appearance allows a remarkable comparison to be made: while the entrance façade at just over 6 m high required the use of steel profiles with high structural properties, it was possible to construct the structural glazing façade above it (8 m high to the south, 12 m to the north) using very slender profiles.

Usable space:
8.154 m2
Main contractor:
BAM Deutschland AG, Berlin/DE
Panorama façade design:
Richter Musikowski, Berlin mit Metallbau Windeck GmbH, Kloster Lehnin und glasfaktor Ingenieure GmbH, Dresden/DE
Panorama façade installation:
Metallbau Windeck GmbH, Kloster Lehnin
Schüco Jansen Steel Systems:
VISS SG Structural Glazing und VISS hochstatische Profile
System supplier:
Jansen AG, Oberriet/CH

EGlass panes filled with paraffin and projected with colourful light clad the lift shafts and a paraffin storage tank which stores solar energy. This housing was also constructed with the VISS SG structural glazing system..

The two structural glazing façades measure 28 x 8 metres (facing south, looking out onto the German Chancellery and Bundestag) and 28 x 12 metres (facing north­east, with a view of the Charité hospital and Berlin Central Station). In addition to the design requirements for maximum pane formats and minimised load­bearing structures, there were also structural requirements for sound reduction, thermal insulation, sun shading, darkening, wind loads, fire protection and safety barrier loading which had to be fulfilled.

The key to the structural »trick« for constructing the large structural glazing façade with extremely narrow joints lies in the reversal of the load transfer. The dead loads and live loads of the cantilevered intermediate floor, which measures 11 metres at the north end and 18 metres at the south, are transferred via tensioned steel bars each attached to a steel hollow­box girder above. The bars therefore always remain under tensile stress, which allowed them to be very narrow. The loads of the two structural glazing façades are also transferred via these steel brackets. Reversing the structural system means that it is the horizontally tensioned transoms, not the mullions, that absorb the wind load. The vertical mullions are merely inserted in between. The envisaged structural solution works as soon as all components, including the roof substructure, have a non­positive­locking connection with each other.

The triple insulating glazing used in the suspended VISS SG mullion/transom construction is approximately 2.3 x 4 m in size and fixed as a structural glazing system with no visible glazing clips.

The two panorama façades are a project­specific solution which can only be realised with steel profiles. The architects chose the VISS SG profile system with a basic depth of just 150 millimetres and a narrow 60 millimetre face width. On the north­east façade, where the largest panes were installed, this allowed almost the maximum glass size that the approval permits for this all­glass façade system to be used. A special glazing clip anchor was developed in consultation with the contracted fabricator Metallbau Windeck GmbH, and glasfaktor, an engineering office for glass statics. The silicone joints in the all­glass façades therefore measure 20 mm wide vertically, but 30 mm horizontally – a negligible difference given the immense dimensions of the whole façade, and one that is only noticeable to the trained eye.

Words: Anne-Marie Ring
Photos: Stephan Falk, Berlin, Jansen AG, Oberriet/CH

For the entrance area, the architects chose the new profiles from the VISS steel profile system by Schüco Jansen Steel Systems, which have excellent structural properties. The double doors were designed as emergency exit doors and were constructed to the maximum permissible width.