17.12.2019

German Ministry for Environment

C.F. Møller Architects win shared first prize in the international competition for the extension of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Berlin (BMU).

76 architectural companies applied to participate in the competition for the extension of BMU in Berlin. 25 – 23 German, one Swiss and one Danish – were chosen to hand in their proposals and it has just been announced that Danish founded C.F. Møller Architects and JSWD Architekten from Cologne share the competition win.

– We are both pleased and proud about this win, says Julian Weyer, partner and architect at C.F. Møller Architects, and continues,
– We are in the beginning of establishing us in Germany having just opened an office in Berlin with assignments well under their way within healthcare, masterplanning and housing. This new win for the Ministry of Environment shows we have a role to play within a range of sectors including both public and private clients. The win underlines that our Scandinavian roots and integrated design approach can add something new and relevant to the German market.

Green Landmark in Berlin

The proposal from C.F. Møller Architects shows a sustainable building designed in timber and natural stone with integrated solar panels and a strong
focus on daylight and shared green spaces.

– The challenge was to fit the extension of the German Ministry of Environment into a triangular site alongside two existing buildings (BMU and Abgeordnetenhaus, the Berlin State Parliament) and at the same time serve very high demands for sustainability and outdoor facilities in the middle of Berlin. The solution comes from intelligent choices in design and materials, explains Heiko Weissbach, Head of Branch, at C.F. Møller Architects in Berlin.

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In regard to BMU’s existing building, the architectural challenges have been solved with an elegant addition that reinterprets Berlin’s urban block typology. This part of the complex consists of a ground floor clad with natural stone and six floors plus attic with photovoltaic panels integrated in the façade. The choice of materials and colours continues the existing facades of the block.

New meeting point

Alongside the existing block, a new and dynamic building form is created. It resembles a bright tree with good conditions for growth as a green oasis
in the city. The starting point is the classical and functional office building which has been optimised in terms of daylight, natural ventilation and building geometry to create excellent daylight conditions and views for the office spaces. The building is opened towards the surrounding city and integrates green courtyards via a branch-like structure at the outer perimeter, to let fresh air in and access the green spaces.

Four of these courtyards contain glazed atria, with open staircases connecting the ground floor with the upper office levels and a roof garden. These main staircases are situated inside the courtyards and acts as both escape route and wayfinding. At each floor, one arrives to a lounge area that provides access to specific office areas. This creates meeting points for breaks and exchange of knowledge and ideas in each office section, while the actual workspaces are situated in the less noisy and busy parts of each floor. The benefit from this is great flexibility in accordance to different users over time.

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The main entrance and a public accessible canteen are accessed from the south at Niederkirchnerstrasse, as an elongation to the Abgeordnetenhaus. From the main entrance one moves through a large showroom to a conference centre in the middle of the building – designed as one open space that merges the conference centre with the functionality of the reception and foyer area. The conference centre also contains a library designed around a courtyard and which can be used as an alternative workspace to develop ‘New Ways of Working’

The facade of the building is inspired by the varied density of tree crowns as a part of a multi-pronged low-tech sustainability strategy aiming at showing how to reduce the CO2 footprint within the future building and at the same time enhance the comfort for the building’s users.

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