COLOURFUL AND ENERGY-EFFICIENTBerker TS Sensor controls Cologne Oval Offices
Everyone is talking about ‘green buildings’. A good example of such constructions are the Cologne Oval Offices (COO) in Cologne. This array of office buildings, completed by Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten in 2010, is a prime model of energy efficiency. An important detail is a custom-manufactured version of the Berker TS Sensor, specially designed for the COO, that makes it possible to control each individual room.
Like softly curved contours formed in the Rhine meadows by the glacial movement of the last ice age, these two structures blend into the river’s banks as though nature herself had placed them there. Their 43,000 square metres are spread over five stories as well as two staggered floors, that wind around two courtyards and thereby allow daylight to illuminate nearly every one of the 1,600 workspaces in the building.
A distinctive feature of the buildings built for investor MEAG by Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten are the colourful façade elements in front of the almost 2,500 full-length windows. These are controlled by a sunlight monitor on the grassed roof, thus ensuring an optimal amount of sunlight and warmth. An eye-catching side effect is that the buildings have a completely different look and feel, depending on the position of the louvres.
With an annual primary energy consumption of 105 kilowatt hours per square metre, the COO require only about half as much energy as comparable office buildings. This results in a reduction of the so-called ‘second rent’ in addition to lowered energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The favourable energy balance is achieved through the louvres that control the amount of sunlight entering the building, sophisticated air conditioning, and smart heat recovery via the ventilation system. All this combines into a sustainable concept that was rewarded with the European Union’s ‘Green Building’ certificate.
Besides being highly energy-efficient, the building is also extremely user-friendly. Whereas other office buildings dictate strict rules that must be abided by their occupants, many areas of the COO allow everyone to do more or less as they please, such as open the windows. Something that is usually taken for granted, but impossible in many buildings today. In the COO, the air conditioning is intelligent and simply switches itself off, when the windows are open.
A building that takes the individual well-being of its users seriously cannot do without an intelligent control system for each room. In the case of the COO, the architects from Hutton Sauerbruch defined their requirements, and contractors Oertel & Prümm found the ideal solution in the Berker TS Sensor. ‘The architects gave us a description of what was required and with Berker we were able to put this successfully into practice,’ reported project manager Frank Müser.
In accordance with the client’s wishes, the TS Sensor control element was designed in a unique colour and fitted with customized pictograms, specially created for this building. The pictograms and scales are self-explanatory, thus adding to the intuitive ease of operation. With its hygenic glass surface, the Berker TS Sensor is a perfect match for the inside doors and walls – which are also made of glass.
With the tap of your finger, you can tell the system that you are there, as well as adjust the room temperature, brightness and angle of the louvres to suit your own personal preferences. ‘It enables the user to operate the various features intuitively and does not require him to read a manual first,’ says Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch in praise of the Berker TS Sensor. ‘Its form is compact, all the functions are combined in one element on one display and, what’s more, it’s aesthetically pleasing.’
‘In my opinion, a sophisticated and modern building needs a central control such as this. It’s user-friendly and harmonizes with the architecture,’ emphasizes Wilhelm Herkersdorf from ZWP Ingenieure AG, the company responsible for the building’s technology. ‘The good thing about the COO is that you hardly notice something so high-energy is happening. It’s like magic.’ Yet behind it all, there aren’t little elves toiling away, but everything is connected in a robust bus technology network and digitally controlled. The user experiences the perfect ease of operation and doesn’t notice any of the technology in the background.
‘That’s how it should be. With that we fulfil our aim to combine design and function in perfect harmony,’ stresses Berker project manager Ingo Jung. ‘In a world that is becoming ever more complex, products need to be self-explanatory. In the Berker TS Sensor custom-manufactured for the COO, we have been even more radical. We have done without an absolute-temperature display and used a graphic display instead. The user only sees whether the temperature is rising or falling, the light is becoming brighter or dimmer. You don’t really need that much more to feel comfortable.’
‘Green Buildings’ is also the featured topic in the latest issue of the Berker magazine for architecture, Blueprint B.08. The focus is on the Cologne Oval Offices (COO) of Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten.
You can order Berker Blueprint B.08 free of charge on +49 2355 905-0 or by sending an e-mail to info(at)berker.de.