cube berlin Shows How Office Buildings Can Learn To Think

Artist’s impression of cube berlin on Washingtonplatz

At the end of 2019, the most highly digitized office building – cube berlin – will be completed in the heart of the city. This smart commercial building will learn from its users by a central ‘brain’ and adapt to their individual needs. The client, real estate company CA Immo, is investing around EUR 100 million in the new building, which was designed by 3XN Architects. Experts from Drees & Sommer are providing support to CA Immo with the implementation of the integrated digitization plan for the building, in addition to providing general technical planning services for the project, such as façade engineering, energy design and green building certification.

Video with statements about the project

What is special about cube berlin is not just its dramatic architectonic shape, but above all that it has artificial intelligence (AI), in other words, a ‘brain’. Following the highest IT security standards, it establishes an intelligent link between all technological equipment and sensors along with planning, operational and user data for optimal control of the processes that take place in the building. The ‘brain’ learns from the data connected with the operation, the users and the environment, and makes suggestions for improvements. For instance, unused spaces in the building will not need heating, ventilation or lighting. The system will recognize this and switch off the equipment in these areas.

Extensive Tests in the Aachen Demonstration Factory

Two years before the building is due to be completed, CA Immo has already begun to put into operation the hardware and software for the smart commercial building and to conduct extensive tests with support from Drees & Sommer. The tests are being carried out at the Demonstration Factory in the Smart Logistics Cluster at the campus of RWTH Aachen University, now considered the Silicon Valley of Germany. In Aachen, the interaction between the different hardware and software components used for digitization can be represented in the model before cube berlin is even commissioned, and tested using different criteria. Digitization experts are investigating the compatibility of the products. Particular attention is given to the issue of cybersecurity.

3,750 Sensors Put Users’ Needs First

The smart commercial building is a new type of property. Users and their needs are at the forefront of the development process. The digital conceptual design process is modelled on people. While the sensors represent the sensory organs, the AI-enabled system platform of cube berlin is the ‘brain’. The experts have selected around 3,750 suitable sensors on this basis. Smart, digital technologies are put together in different combinations depending on the particular building or project, and they make it easier for users to operate the building. They offer possible new uses such as indoor navigation, tracking of people and objects, and access control using facial recognition. Users of cube berlin will be helped by a special building app created by Thing Technologies, which only uses personal data to the extent permitted by the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).