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The Cube

The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube
The cube

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Completion: 2020
  • Featured product(s): Saflex® Structural and Saflex® Solar PVB interlayer
  • Glass configuration : 8mm GuardianUltraClear/Sunguard Coating/Saflex® Solar (SG)/Saflex® Structural (DG)/8mm GuardianUltraClear/Sunguard coating + IGU 6mm/12/4mm/12/6mm
  • Client: Immo Deutschland | www.caimmo.com
  • Architect(s): Mats & 3XN Architects Denmark | www.3xn.com
  • Glass Laminator: Guardian Glass | www.guardianglass.com
  • Facade consultant: Drees & Sommer | www.dreso.com
  • Photo credit: M.Haller | Eastman

Combining Saflex Solar and robust solar control coatings

Outside of the box
Cube berlin solves solar concerns in unique design with double-skin facade.

"Thinking outside the box" took on new meaning in Berlin as a dream team of glass and architectural experts broke new ground on an actual architectural box—the completed cube berlin. Because cube berlin is no ordinary glass-covered building, it’s unique design required careful attention to product selection, ensuring that the right glass product would provide solar control to avoid heat gain/ loss as well as be structurally sound. That’s where Saflex® PVB came in.

Located on the busy Washingtonplatz next to Berlin’s Central Station, the cleverly sculpted cube berlin is in the heart of the city’s business, government, and cultural district. With its prominent location, 3XN Architects of Copenhagen designed cube berlin to be a showstopping sculpture on the square. The all-glass design presented multiple challenges, including energy concerns and structural requirements. So a collaborative team that included the architects, owners, coatings experts, glass manufacturer, PVB experts, and facade consultants worked to resolve potential concerns.

The solution was a pioneering double-skin facade that uses coatings and PVB interlayers in a unique combination. To address the building owner’s strict energy requirements, Guardian Glass and Eastman selected, tested, and used reflective solar coatings on the outer skin of the building while adding a Saflex® solar-absorbing PVB interlayer to control solar heat gain in the cavity. (Normally, these products are used on the inner skin.) In essence, the team created a solar-absorbing and solar-reflecting effect in a single laminate.

Through expert knowledge and rigorous testing and modeling, the team recognized the impact of merging structural and solar PVB technologies. The novel approach of dual technologies was presented to a national standards board (Zulassung im Einzelfall ZiE), where it was approved. Their close collaboration on this project has provided Guardian Glass and Eastman with a stronger partnership that will continue with other projects. "To design such a complex product, you need real teamwork, which is exactly what happened during the design phase with the glass supplier, the PVB supplier, the architect, and the facade consultant all working closely together," says Joachim Fauth of Drees & Sommer, facade consultant on the project.

Such creative technology and architectural beauty will benefit many. Occupants of the cube will be treated with floor-to-ceiling views while enjoying a comfortable yet highly energy-efficient space. Passersby will be treated to ever-changing reflections in the angled facade. And for students of architectural glass, the building will serve as a case study of innovation for years to come.