A new approach to new construction

Daumstraße in Berlin’s Spandau district is close to Spandau’s lively old town. Walking down this street, it’s clear there’s plenty of room to build. What isn’t immediately apparent, however, is the street’s impressive history. Part of it is home to CCC Film studios, where popular German TV series such as “Die weiße Rose” and “Ku’damm 56” are shot. Now, here on Daumstraße, a new neighbourhood is taking shape. It’s set to be the perfect combination of living, work, architecture and sustainability.

For some things, it’s what’s outside that matters. For others, it’s what lies within that makes them so extraordinary. For the Deutsche Wohnen neighbourhood planned on Daumstraße – right on the banks of the river Havel – both are key. The outside of the buildings resemble old Viking villages. They feature hybrid timber construction and part-wooden façades. The greenery is intended to resemble Nordic fjords. Inside, new ideas and innovative technologies are what set these buildings apart.

Different developments for different needs

Around 286 rental properties are being built here – in different sizes, for different lifestyles. The apartments will be split across three different building types:  longhouses, summerhouses and boathouses. The latter are similar to four-room apartments in size and layout – designed for families. There are also smaller apartments and commercial spaces for small retailers providing local amenities, co-working space and other offices. The project is planned for completion in late 2024.

One striking aspect is that the paths to the waterside are open. There are no closed areas or courtyards. “The Daumstraße neighbourhood should in no way be a ‘gated city’ – on the contrary. With its gates open to the street, it should welcome visitors,” explains Sebastian Höfker, Senior Project Manager at QUARTERBACK Construction Berlin GmbH, which is implementing the project for Deutsche Wohnen. Residents can take advantage of the large green spaces. The ground-floor apartments also have their own gardens.

We analysed and weighed up a great deal before we were able to put together all the building blocks to make Daumstraße a real model project for our new builds of the future.

Benjamin Albrecht
Head of Project Development
Benjamin Albrecht (right) and Sebastian Höfker

Benjamin Albrecht (right) and Sebastian Höfker

Paving the way for the future

The entire Daumstraße project is being developed with the aim of creating a prototype for sustainable construction and the housing of the future and setting standards for our future new construction projects. “The focus is on life-cycle-oriented planning and construction, sustainability and the associated use of new materials and methods,” says Benjamin Albrecht, Head of Project Development at QUARTERBACK Construction Berlin GmbH, describing the project. The approach doesn’t just encompass building materials or energy supply – it goes far beyond that. Some examples illustrate just how wide-reaching this plan is. The green spaces are set to feature Nordic plants. This low-maintenance greenery matches the architecture while ensuring high levels of biodiversity. In addition, rainwater will not be discharged into the sewage system and is only partially discharged into the Havel. Instead, it mainly feeds a pond in the neighbourhood. Recycled concrete is also used in construction – saving plenty of CO2. Solar panel systems will also keep power supply emissions low. These measures are intended to help ensure that the neighbourhood is ultimately certified “Gold” by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

After in-depth study, a decentralised solution was selected for the hot water supply. This is surprising at first, as it’s generally assumed that a central solution is more efficient. However, the calculations came to a clear result, as Benjamin Albrecht explains. “A central hot water supply would consume more power here and worsen what is known as the ‘primary energy factory’ – by as much as 30%. The decentralised solution also reduces maintenance outlay on average.”

Daumstraße future project building blocks

Modern mobility and digital technology

The entire neighbourhood is set to be car-free. Cars can only park in the underground car park, which is accessible from outside. Its special design concept is extraordinary: “trees grow out of the roof of the underground car park in the neighbourhood’s central square. This supplies the car park with natural ventilation and also makes the square a more pleasant place to be,” says Sebastian Höfker. Half of the parking spaces will be equipped with charging facilities for electric cars. Future expansion is part of the plans from the outset and is possible at any time where required. There will also be mobility hubs on site with a variety of different sharing options.

Deutsche Wohnen’s digital living assistant, with its display-based controls, shall feature inside the buildings. It does the job of a classic video intercom and also ensures energy-efficient heating control. In future, the digital living assistant can also be used to control shade, light, energy consumption display and as a “digital blackboard”.  Meanwhile, another smart home app allows residents to enter buildings and apartments with ease and without keys.

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286 rental apartments are taking shape in Spandau, Berlin

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The site is right on the banks of the Havel

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Trees grow from the roof of the underground car park on the main square

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