Media Release

Smart Cookie: Berlin Has One of the Most Intelligent Buildings in the World

© Yves Sucksdorff
Offices with a river view: behind the glass façade of ‘The Terrace’ is a mass of intelligence.

Berlin, Germany, August 24, 2023 – If you are looking for a smart address you will find it on the banks of the Spree river, in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin. Here, ANH Hausbesitz GmbH & Co. KG has completed the last building in its distinctive new quarter – The Terrace. The special feature of the office building:a high degree of digitization. Sensors collect data along with meter readings for future optimization of the building controls.This is why The Terrace has been awarded with a SmartScore Platinum certification and thus recognized as one of the smartest buildings in the world. And the property is also WiredScore Gold-certified because of its excellent connectivity, digital infrastructure and its high system reliability. Drees & Sommer SE specializes in construction and real estate consulting. The firm has supported ANH Hausbesitz through the certification process. With the provision of workplace-related advice and interior design consulting services, the company thus contributed to the creation of a future-proof working environment.

The Terrace completes the distinctive architectural ensemble of four buildings that has been built over the past nine years on ANH’s plot, a former industrial site near the Spree river in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district. The developer and operator itself is now moving into the stepped building, which features decorative concrete, glass, and galvanized grating. It will occupy the second level of the seven-floor building, which enjoys an unobstructed view of the Spree river.

Here, users will be greeted by a future-proof workspace combining collaborative shared areas and focus spaces. Consultants from Drees & Sommer developed the workplace design in close consultation with ANH and realized the interior design, which creates a sense of identity and consists of contrasting materials, varied color schemes and multi-functional work areas.

High End Design with Panoramic Views

In addition to the workplace design, Drees & Sommer also participated in the development of a digital concept for The Terrace. The SmartScore Platinum-certified complex offers everything needed for working in a digital world. There are only two buildings worldwide that have gained the maximum score of 100.

“During development of the property, it was particularly important for us to focus on a high level of user comfort. This is not possible without automated processes,” explains Jens Waninger. As head of the Smart Building department, he is responsible for the management of the project at ANH Hausbesitz. “We can book rooms or control the air conditioning and lighting systems via a proprietary app, for example. And we can use this app on our smartphone to manage who can access the building.” The centralized collection of all data will provide ANH with a basis for future AI-based optimization of facility management and technical building services.

Digital ‘Brain’ Helps Save Energy and Conserve Resources

What is referred to as the ‘brain’ captures, analyzes and evaluates data. The system identifies rooms that are not being used and switches the heating to energy-saving mode. Another example is the intelligent lighting system, which uses sensors to register the lighting level and the presence of people in the building. The lighting is then controlled in response to the brightness of the daylight and according to needs. ‘However, not only the degree of digitization is important when we speak about smart properties. Their design must be climate friendly, resource and energy efficient. The carbon footprint should be reduced. Ideally a property combines smart digital solutions with sustainable requirements,” explains Stefan Wings. Drees & Sommer’ project head developed the digital concept jointly with ANH Hausbesitz and provided support in the implementation phase. And this is how it works: detailed user profiles are generated, in real time, for buildings and systems based on the collected data. The artificial intelligence tool, the ‘brain’, combines and stores information on systems and installations of the building and enables a targeted optimization of the building operating processes.

All these systems do not work in isolation, but are networked to add value for users and operators. Owners can analyze the data collected and use it to ensure a building runs at the optimum operating point. In this way it is possible to reduce energy consumption by up to 25 percent, which is not only good for the climate, but against the backdrop of rising energy prices it also significantly reduces costs.

Easy Building Management via App

Users also benefit from the intelligent digital systems of The Terrace. All relevant functions are controlled by means of an own property app. Instead of a key, they use their smartphones to open the entrance door and then unlock all other rooms according to their access rights. When someone enters the building, the lift is automatically called and the destination floor is selected. Who wishes to book a workstation, a meeting room, a parking space or a charging station can easily and quickly book via the app-based booking system. Guests are granted temporary access to the building. A detailed analysis of use is also carried out for each rental space. This makes it very easy for operators to evaluate the area-related data. The entire security concept of The Terrace is based on state-of-the-art technology. The solutions range from video surveillance with motion detectors, including connection to a security service, to automatic alarm monitoring of sensitive technical equipment.

Cyber Security and Data Protection

The security system of smart buildings also includes sophisticated cyber security measures, the design of which is part of the initial planning phase. Every smart property collects a large quantity of data during operation. This information must be protected against access of unauthorized persons. An extensive rights and roles system has been set up for The Terrace. This defines precisely who is authorized to access what data. To prevent security issues, all digital systems were thoroughly tested before the building was commissioned. “In our Innovation Hub in Aachen, a testing and demonstration center for smart buildings, we test the systems’ vulnerability to external attacks using the same means and methods as those employed by hackers. The EU General Data Protection Regulation also has stringent requirements which prohibit the identification of individual employees’ behavior patterns. Having to consider all this increases the initial design costs, but taking account of user comfort creates a better functioning and sustainable building with an enhanced atmosphere,“ explains Stefan Wings.

Further Optimization Planned

ANH Hausbesitz is not only developer and operating company of the new flagship ensemble, but also a tenant: “The digital design of The Terrace embraces everything we, ourselves, wanted to have as developers, operating company and users of the building,“ Jens Waninger sums up. In the coming months, ANH Hausbesitz and Drees & Sommer, plan to evaluate the operating data and use it to identify further issues for digital buildings. Another objective is to find the ideal operating state from the point of view of the environment and user comfort. As a customized smart building, The Terrace offers a combination of technology, architecture and user-friendliness in order to ensure a smart future for people and the environment.