On the EDGE at Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

On the EDGE at Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
3D rendering of the completed building with surroundings; image courtesy of EDGE

Smart office tower development offers amenities, but with tenants’ health in mind.

Editor’s note: Your author reports on an exclusive tour of the construction site of EDGE East Side Berlin in July 2021 arranged by KONE.

Amazon will move into EDGE East Side Berlin, currently under construction next to the railway station Warschauer Straße S-Bahn (suburban train) at Friedrichshain (edge.tech/de/developments/edge-east-side-berlin).

The Building EDGE East Side Berlin

EDGE East Side Berlin was designed by architect Bjarke Ingels Group, which has created an open architecture with a curtain wall front from the seventh floor upward. The project developer is EDGE, and the general contractor, Ed. Züblin AG/STRABAG, was engaged for construction of the 140-m smart office tower.

The footprint of the tower, which protrudes alternately 1.5 m and 5 m, covers a site of only 40 x 60 m. Due to the neighboring Warschauer Brücke (bridge), only two basement levels are being planned.

The floor area totals 80,500 m2, including around 65,000 m2 of office space on its 36 above-grade floors. Amazon is the key tenant of EDGE East Side. The first two floors and a roof terrace with restaurants will be open to the public. The main access will be provided by a newly built platform from the Warschauer Brücke.

The building pays particular attention to the health of its users. It strives for closed-loop recycling management, uses organic compounds wherever possible, and provides green areas within the building. For these features, it is aiming for WELL v2 Core & Shell Gold certification from the International WELL Building Institute.

Sustainability has been acknowledged with the platinum pre-certificate of the DGNB Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (German Sustainable Building Council). In the office spaces, heating/cooling ceilings with meandering hot or cold water, and acoustic sails made of perforated aluminum sheet, are used. Heating is provided by district heating; electricity comes from the grid.

The house connections, including a transformer station, are located on the ground floor, i.e., at the level of the lower lobby. Cooling energy and fresh air are supplied half from above and half from below, while water, electricity and heat come only from below. The first basement floor is the technical floor, with corresponding technical control centers.

On the EDGE at Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg - 5
Access to KONE double-decks on two floors; image courtesy of KONE
On the EDGE at Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg - 1
KONE double-deck technique; image courtesy of KONE

The First KONE Double-Deck Elevators in Germany

Double-deck elevators have been in use for more than 130 years —since 1889, they have been running in the corner pillars of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Today, there are only a few suppliers of double-deck elevators in the world, including elevator manufacturer KONE, which installed such a system in London’s “The Shard” skyscraper in 2013, among other projects.[1]

Originally, the first commercial use of TK Elevator’s MULTI was planned for the building. Instead, beginning in the end of 2021, KONE will be installing 14 elevators and three escalators in the East Side Tower, including one firefighters’ elevator, one event elevator and the first eight double-deck elevators in Germany. These high-performance elevators can accommodate twice as many passengers in their two-story cabs. A double-deck elevator always stops at two consecutive floors, where passengers at each level access the car at the same time. “By this, less of the valuable building space is needed for the elevator shafts,” explains Erik Kahlert, managing director of KONE Germany. The visitor flow analysis was executed by accu:rate in Munich, Germany.

The double-deck elevators travel at speeds of up to 6 m/s (21.6 km/h); the maximum travel time from the ground floor to the roof terrace on the 36th floor is thus 20.6 s. These elevators are powered by the most powerful KONE variant MX100, which, with 134 kW, moves up to 26 persons in the two cabs, corresponding to a 4-t load.

Status of Construction Work

The site tour in July 2021 was accompanied by EDGE project manager Andreas Jorsch, who currently employs 80-90 people on-site. The planning up to phase 3 has already been completed.

Excavation of the building pit began in October 2020; the foundation stone for the high-rise was laid in January 2021. The neighboring bridge had to be raised 12 mm by pumping a cement suspension into the ground under the bridge piers and the tower foundation to compensate for the load of the building lowering the ground by up to 20 mm.

As of July 2021, the two basement levels, the platform and the lower foyer with access to the parking garages had been weatherproofed; the upper foyer/ground floor was under construction. By the end of 2021, the eighth floor should be erected, and by the end of 2022, the structure should be topped out. By 2023, the building should be completed. The blue-colored concrete distribution system is growing with the building, so that every spot on the construction site can be reached with it.

In the large storage area of the construction site beyond the bridge, sample façades of the podium and the two-story office floors, made of 3-mm sheetmetal below and raw steel with aluminum above, was on display. The baffle pane is ventilated with fresh air from the outside and equipped with a sun blind that can be adjusted from the inside for sun protection.

“The ventilation center is currently the largest room in the first basement; later, it will be the most crowded,” Jorsch said during the tour. At the top, at 2.5 times the floor height, is the input opening. On the second basement level, with 1.5 times the floor height, there is storage room for tenants and facility management. Later, the sprinkler system with tank, control center and pumps, will also be located there. There is also a rainwater retention basin. The technical shaft ends — except for some pipes — already in place in the first basement.

On the ground floor at the rear, delivery access to the construction site and, later, to the building, is located. An escalator and a staircase bring the visitors from the ground floor to the lobby of the first floor and, via a ramp to the mezzanine, to the lower deck of the double-deck elevator.

The elevator shafts were visible and accessible from the corridor in the cores of both basement levels and clearly visible from the bridge by the yellow construction crane embedded in them. The walls in the elevator lobbies were constructed in fair-faced concrete quality with minimal moulding joints. To speed construction logistics, KONE’s high-performance JumpLift construction elevator is being used here for the second time in Germany, following use at the ONE office tower in Frankfurt Main (ELEVATOR WORLD Europe September-October 2020).


[1] kone-files.ftp-mtm.com/8755_KONE_DoubleDeck_Elevators_video_1080_V2.mp4

Undine Stricker-Berghoff is the owner of ProEconomy, a Luebeck- Travemuende, Germany-based engineering office through which she works as a coach and consultant for management and marketing mainly in energy and building services. From 2008 until 2013, she was the managing director of VFA-Interlift e.V. in Hamburg, Germany. She studied Mechanical Engineering at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and, immediately after graduation, worked as an energy consultant for ERPAG in Lugano, Switzerland, and Campione, Italy. Prior to joining VFA-Interlift, Stricker-Berghoff worked for VDI, the Association of German Engineers in Duesseldorf, Germany, as secretary for Building Services, and was in charge of the VDI-Standards department. She also served one term as director general for the Luebeck Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She has operated ProEconomy since 2005.

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