‘Forum on museum island’

For several years now, work has been underway in the Mitte district on one of Berlin’s largest construction projects. Between Oranienburger Strake, Tucholskystraße, Monbijoupark and Museum Island, the ‘Forum on museum island’ is being created from ten buildings, the majority of which are listed.

Sound-absorbing cement-bonded wood wool panels from Troldtekt are often used as acoustic ceilings in offices
Photo: Olaf Wiechers, arkitekt

The rebuilding and new building work on the site is to be completed by the end of 2021, and the building ensemble will comprise residential, work, restaurant and event space.

The 200-year-old area is bordered on the north by the Oranienburger Straße and on the south by the Spree; the Ziegelstraße runs right through it. In the northern part, the gatehouse is located between two historical buildings. The building is bordered to the east by the lodge house, the former seat of the Freemasons, which was built in 1791. On the western side on the Tucholskystraße stands a building that formerly housed the Institute for Postal and Telecommunications of the GDR. The rooms in this building, built in the Art Deco style, have been used by the Delivery Hero firm for several years.

Founded in 2011, the company operates online food ordering services in 14 states under various company and brand names. Of more than 12,000 employees worldwide, some 1,000 employees work at its headquarters in Berlin. To serve the growing market in the future, the employees will be able to use premises designed to meet the company’s requirements in the five-storey Torhaus Ost from the end of 2020.

There are open-plan offices on the second, third and fourth floors, and a spacious lounge area for employees is being created on the top floor. The standard floors offer enough space for around 40 screen-based workstations across an area of approximately 300 square metres. As well as the open-plan office, there are areas for meetings, washroom facilities with disabled access, and a pantry on each floor.

Acoustically optimised open-plan office

Hard surfaces are often used for the interior fittings and furnishings of large office areas. Reinforced concrete, plastics and glass are currently among the preferred building materials. Such smooth surfaces, however, reflect the sound generated by employees when on telephone calls, just moving around and even by electrical devices. This increases the noise level, leading to lapses in concentration and performance deficits and even adverse health effects. To prevent this, the neotares planning consultants in Frankfurt am Main developed an appropriate expansion concept for the new premises of Delivery Hero’s employees.

Particular attention was paid to an acoustically and artistically optimised design of the ceilings. Based on an industrial design, only two-thirds of the rough formwork concrete ceilings (with a headroom of 3.0 metres) were equipped with suspended acoustic panels. The ventilation lines and outlets as well as the suspension of the ceiling system are still visible. The power to the workstations is supplied as far as possible using cable ducts installed in the double floor.

Various cement-bonded wood wool panels were installed on the three upper floors as acoustic elements, which are presented as ceiling clouds. Made of the natural material wood, and cement extracted from Danish mineral resources, the acoustic panels produced by Troldtekt vary not only in colour but also in surface design. The new design series – which was honoured with an ICONIC Award and a German Design Award 2020, the highest award of the Council for Design – was used for three attractive solutions. In addition, the designs were nominated for the DETAIL Product Award 2020.

The Troldtekt® line – a rectangular acoustic panel with grooves in the panel surface – and the Troldtekt® rhomb mini – a hexagonal acoustic panel in two different versions – were installed. What the designs have in common is that they ensure good acoustics and a healthy indoor climate, while at the same time giving the ceilings a distinctive aesthetic character.