Berlin || Germany Da Redazione The Plan - 18/10/2019
The Free University of Berlin was built in the 1950s to a design by Berlin architects Hermann Fehling, Daniel Gogel and Peter Pfankuch, and today it is a listed complex included in the country’s cultural heritage. The 27 buildings are spread across 45,000 sq m and, at present, major work is ongoing to upgrade the structures and improve energy efficiency.
The project is being overseen by the Autzen & Reimers and Winfried Brenne Architekten architecture practices, focusing on removing the defects in the original constructions and improving the energy efficiency.
The first stage, involving three buildings, has already been completed. The installation of ventilation systems with partial heat recovery, the insulation of the roofing, the external façades and the internal parapets beneath windows, and the replacement of the original steel windows with new steel ones with thermal breaks and insulating glazing helped cut energy consumption by 60%. This was done without altering the appearance of the façades and the original lines of the windows.
Secco Sistemi’s OS2 system was selected as it has been designed specifically for restoring historical and monumental buildings, with visible frames of only 46 mm for windows and doors. This ensured both the aesthetic requirements and the performance/technical standards imposed by current regulations were met. In total 177 windows of various shapes, with multiple elements, were installed, including fixed lateral sections, transom windows, and top/bottom hung and hinged windows. Some of the windows were up to 2 m high.
In response to a request from the designers and the local Architecture Heritage Commission, Secco Sistemi produced special inclined and connecting frames. The handles for the stainless steel windows were custom-made for the project. All the pieces were supplied with a black external coating and a white internal one. The entire project to overhaul the 27 University buildings is due to take until 2024.