Berlin, Germany

Situated in the very heart of Berlin, amongst important government buildings and adjacent to the historic ground of the former Berlin Wall, the HumboldtHafenEins is a striking development.

Covering an area of 45,000m2, this trailblazing commercial centre boasts 30,000mof highly contemporary, energy efficient office accommodation and 15,000m2 of food, retail and leisure facilities.


As this development occupies such a prominent position in the city, it was important to deliver a building that was innovative in every way. A competition was held to find the best architectural concept, during which Buro Happold provided our client with energy performance and sustainability analysis of each entry. We then worked closely with the winning architect to develop designs that would comply with strict German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) criteria.

Street view of HumboldtHafenEins in daylight
Lean and green: applying leading edge technologies to deliver the most energy efficient office complex in Berlin. Image: Buro Happold


One of the signature features of the winning entry was a sweeping 6 storey suspended cantilever gallery that offers views out over the city. To realise this complex element, our structural engineers devised a lightweight composite steel construction, reinforced with additional steel elements, to render a safe support system for the 1,500 tonne cantilever.

Street view of HumboldtHafenEins in daylight
Situated in the heart of the city where the Berlin Wall once stood, this remarkable building is both striking and deferential to the historic context. Image: Buro Happold

Our sustainability consultants liaised with the architect to incorporate strategies that would ensure DGNB certification. The materials used throughout were selected for their long life cycle and minimal CO2 emissions, and interior spaces served by highly efficient systems. These include a cutting edge cogeneration plant that uses bio-gas to power the whole complex, a ventilation system with 75% heat recovery, energy optimised air conditioning, and intelligent lighting that reacts to the amount of available daylight.

The collaboration with Buro Happold was very positive. The delivery of their services is very professional; the technical aspects of the design are always prepared in a way that makes it easy for us to make the right decisions. The team has good communication skills, a holistic approach and a great engagement in finding the most appropriate and cost efficient solutions.

Horst Jentschura, OVG Bischoff
Image: Buro Happold


As a result of these initiatives, the HumboldtHafenEins became the first building to receive the new DGNB Platinum plaque in 2015. Today, it stands as the greenest office complex in Berlin, and among the top ten most sustainable buildings in Germany.

View of HumboldtHafenEins facade against blue skies
HumboldtHafenEins is the first building to receive the new Platinum plaque of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) at EXPO REAL. Image: Buro Happold
External view of HumboldtHafenEins
The building received a very high rating of 90.4 percent, the result of a variety of exceptional qualities. Image: Buro Happold

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