A centre of attraction for innovative firms
Interview with the building developer of the laboratory and office building FUHUB, Togrul Gönden, CEO of Driven Investment GmbH
FUHUB will be the first new building on the FUBIC premises and, at the same time, the first hybrid-timber laboratory building in Germany. A conversation with the building developer, Togrul Gönden, CEO of Driven Investment GmbH.
You describe the way of working at Driven as follows: “Go off the beaten track and venture to do projects that nobody else dares to do.” Is FUHUB such a project?
Definitely. We have been working on the topic of life sciences buildings for eight years now. I think that underscores our patience and our commitment to the location. When we decided to make FUHUB a laboratory and office building, only very few private developers in Germany had this subject on their radar. We are doing pioneering work.
What is the appeal of the project?
It’s part of the Zukunftsort Berlin Southwest. A place generating future innovation in Berlin. A neighbourhood with the potential to become a centre of attraction for innovative companies. I believe that this location has the best conditions for combining research with industry.
FUHUB is described as a model property in terms of sustainability. What does that mean exactly?
We have integrated biodiversity roofs and rainwater retention, we work with heat pumps, and have equipped 70 percent of the roofs with photovoltaic systems. Sustainability plus laboratories is a rather new topic in the industry. Rarer still is the planning of laboratory spaces where the type of tenants who will ultimately use the building is not yet known. With office space, it’s relatively simple. Whether you have cell offices or open plan, it doesn’t matter that much. When building laboratories, this is completely different because every lab user has different requirements for industrial gases, payloads, ceiling heights, and other technical equipment. Planning this flexibly is a challenge.
Can you briefly explain what hybrid-timber construction is and why you chose it?
The cellar areas and stair cores are made up of reinforced concrete. Everything else is built using wood: the façade, the support columns, and windows. First and foremost, we were thinking about how we can achieve the highest sustainability certification, which is platinum. This is difficult to achieve in conventional construction. We had a sustainability consultant who supervised the certification process.
What must the building be able to do to obtain this certification?
Of course, it’s about carbon emissions during construction and during operations. If a building has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, construction is only a relatively small portion of the sustainability assessment. The operational part becomes more important. With the lighter construction using wood, we already achieve major emissions advantages during construction. Photovoltaics have a lot of weight in the assessment, the same goes for the all-electric concept. We don’t need oil, no gas, only heat pumps. This is more sustainable later during operation, too, despite the high requirements the tenants have for laboratory infrastructure, including ventilation or adjacent media.
You advertise FUHUB with innovative and future-driven worlds of work. What does that mean to you?
We placed great importance on spaces for collaboration among the general areas. We call them eggs because of their shape. They are spaces with a capacity of up to 50 people that are located in the connecting building between the north and the south wings. Tenants can reduce their rented areas because they don’t need additional meeting, seminar, and workshop spaces. Furthermore, we have planned an event space in the outdoor areas. We have plans for lobbies that include kitchens, including robots putting together the dishes. Tenants can use an app to order food at a certain time. Moreover, there will be green rooftop terraces for all the tenants that can also be used to work in summer, as well as a courtyard with tables and chairs. There is a large bicycle garage with charging stations on the lower ground level. These are all offerings that will provide high added value to the building’s users. The way we see it, these things will become something people expect in the future.
What phase is the project currently in?
We received the building permit in March 2023 and construction is already well underway. Completion is scheduled for late 2024.
Rico Bigelmann for POTENZIAL
- FUHUB Berlin | Office & Laboratory Spaces (fuhub-berlin.com)
- We are Driven – New Way of Thinking for Real Estate Developments (driven-investment.com)