Team Vienna goes Berlin! Together with our partner Schenker Salvi Weber, we won first prize in the architectural competition for Berlin Waste Management (BSR)! This is Franz&Sue’s third major project in Germany – besides the Evangelical Church Campus in Nuremberg and the New Vocational School Center in Constance. From the beginning, we saw a lot of potential in the requirements of this competition tender: to create visibility in the city and a completely new working world under the most sustainable criteria possible. For three quarters of a year, we put a lot of heart and soul into the design for the new building of this great German institution. After all, with more than 6000 employees, the company is one of the largest employers in Berlin. All the greater is our delight about winning the competition!
Net Usable Floor Area
Day after day, the BSR task forces, dressed in orange work uniforms, buzz out to sweep the German capital, empty trash containers, and keep the city in good shape. “We make Berlin better, greener and cleaner” is their motto. The counterpart of Vienna’s Municipal Department 48 is an integral part of the lively and sometimes wild Berlin. And this visibility should also be reflected at its new location at Südkreuz.
Beacon of the Neighbourhood
But what makes this project so interesting? At a traffic hub in the city – near the Südkreuz rapid transit and long-distance train station – a new neighbourhood has emerged in recent years: the Schöneberger Linse. Hundreds of apartments, numerous office buildings, kindergartens and schools have already been completed here. Only one area lies fallow, asphalted, waiting to usher in the grand finale for the urban development area. A new corporate headquarters for BSR is to be built on this site; it is here where the district will open up to its visitors, and a beacon for the neighbourhood takes shape.
»We are pleased to be able to expand and interconnect the Südkreuz district with a striking, open-structured urban building block at this dynamic urban location.«
Thomas Weber, from partner Schenker Salvi Weber
Welcome, dear neighbourhood!
An interesting detail is that only part of the project is to be used as the BSR headquarters – more than half of the premises will be available to other companies in the future. To create a clear separation and a neighbourhood square, we split the structures in two: one building for the municipal waste management in the northern part with seven storeys, and one with an attached 17-storey high-rise accommodating commercial spaces, a cafeteria, and conference rooms in the southern part. Important factors for us are the campus concept, a connecting ground floor, and a neighbourhood square with green areas to draw people into the district. An environmental educational trail runs across the property, where topics such as circular economy and recycling are explained. As the BSR is a down-to-earth company that is open to visitors and residents alike and seeks proximity to the neighbourhood, we planned an extroverted building – every office opens up to the city, all employees have a view of urban life. To this end, we made several incisions into the cubature and maximized the surface of the façade. Now a six-meter-wide belt of office space winds along the façade, with corners and edges, for optimal natural lighting.
»On the one hand, this urban gesture will close off the urban space of the Schöneberger Linse opposite Südkreuz station in a way that is as surprising as it is sensible and appropriate, while safeguarding the quality of future developments on the site.«
Excerpt from the jury protocol
New flexibility in hybrid-timber
In addition, we arranged the office space within the belt to create 400 m2 units that can be connected or disconnected. In the event that the BSR needs fewer on-site workstations for its own employees due to an increased demand of home office solutions, units can be rented out to external parties. For this purpose, we have equipped each wing with an entrance and exit as well as a sanitary and technical core. Communicative zones, parent-child offices, rest and meeting rooms, and coffee kitchens are grouped around the centre of the office units. Each floor accommodates alternating loggias, which are also suitable for working outdoors, protected from the weather. The staggered air spaces that extend from the foyer to the top floor loosen up the structure and create a light corridor from the skylights down to the ground floor.
»The building is planned as a hybrid-timber structure – construction, operations, and at some point also the deconstruction are designed sustainably and correspond to the corporate values of our client.«
Elisabeth Nobl, Franz&Sue project manager
This flexibility is facilitated by the chosen construction: Reinforced concrete cores allow large spans in the open central zones, while the six-meter belt with the office units is based on timber frame construction. In this way, the use of the building is also reflected in its construction method. Overall, however, the timber structure predominates – it accounts for two thirds of the complex. In addition to wood, we also make use of other sustainable materials: The floors are made of recycled bricks – these continue from public space into the interior – and clad the large foyer walls as well. The façades are made of ceramic panels hung on the wooden structure in a modular fashion. Here, the two parts of the building differ only in minimal geometric and colour nuances – the impression of an ensemble is important to us.
Renewable, recyclable, regenerative
Naturally, a cradle-to-cradle approach is particularly important to a company in the circular economy. Our building pursues this concept on multiple levels, for example the water cycle: Rainwater accumulates in retention areas on the roof, is treated, collected in underground cisterns, and then used for irrigation and toilet flushing. Or in the energy supply: 60 percent of the roof surface consists of photovoltaic modules that generate electricity. Excess solar power is fed into the grid. Geothermal heat pumps extract the heat from the earth and are powered by the electricity from the PV systems. The materials the building is made of transform it into a construction supply warehouse of the future, because it can be dismantled and the materials reused. Hence, cradle to cradle. In this manner, the BSR make a bold statement on sustainable recycling and resource management. Not only through the architecture, but also through its openness to the population.
»The design implements the high economic, ecological, and social standards of our enterprise in an outstanding way. It presents the BSR as an active player in shaping a sustainable present and future.«
Werner Kehren, BSR Chief Financial Officer and jury member
Type Of Commission
EU-weiter, nicht-offener, zweistufiger Realisierungswettbewerb
Gross Floor Area
Scope Of Commission
Net Usable Floor Area
Elisabeth Nobl (PL), Suvi Repo (PL), Clara Linsmeier, Jakob Fichter, Anna Romanova, Sinem Firat, Nikola Buncic, Asmir Mehic
Merz Kley Partner; Pichler Ingenieure
CES clean energy solutions; Plan B - Beratende Ingenieure
Fire Safety Planning
Nachhaltigkeit: Büro Happold; Baumanagement: BAL