Located in the heart of Berlin’s government district, Futurium is the result of a joint project involving the Ministry of Education and Research, scientific organizations, foundations and research bodies. Not yet fully open to the public, it has a future research center, a lab and various displays areas planned specifically for creating, illustrating and testing potential future scenarios. The project by Richter Musikowski and JUCA architektur + landschaftsarchitektur is in itself a work of innovative architecture that necessitated the active involvement of all parties. Jansen was one such partner, bringing key know-how and the façade systems that enabled Futurium’s sculpted shape to go from theoretical idea to real solution. With a glazed exterior that truly engages the surrounding city, Futurium opens onto two squares through entrance halls protected from the elements by being recessed into the building. Above these halls, glazed walls rise three floors to the north-west (28x12 m) and two floors to the south (28X8 m), creating giant, shiny screens that reflect the city from outside, but provide perfect transparency from within. The technical challenges of such screens extended beyond mere size optimization and structural minimization, to ensure the necessary sound and thermal insulation, light and shade protection, and resistance to wind, fire and breakage. The architects realized the VISS SG system, with 150 mm thick profiles and 60 mm visible profiles, was an ideal solution, especially as it has insulated triple glazing with no visible connections to an unusual suspended upright-and-cross beam structure that leverages a load inversion system designed specifically for this building. In this innovative approach, the façades are supported by stainless steel tie rods attached to a stainless-steel structure located above. This minimizes the size of the structural elements as traction is used to bear the load. On the façade, the joints between the glazing are 20 mm vertically and 30 mm horizontally, a difference that, in such a large façade, is only visible to an expert eye.
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