New museum Berlin
OBO systems for function, aesthetics and extreme conditions
As part of Berlin's Museumsinsel (Museum Island), the Neues Museum has been a World Heritage Site since 1999 and is one of the most important cultural institutions in Europe, with its collections of Egyptian, prehistoric and classical artefacts. Completed in 1855, the building is considered the masterpiece of architect Friedrich A. Stülers, and was painstakingly restored and transformed into one complete building between 2003 and 2009, after being destroyed in WWII.
The extensive restorations were based on designs from David Chipperfield, in which the historic building structure was to be preserved and expanded. These plans were implemented in collaboration with David Chipperfield Architects Berlin and the architect Julian Harrap, and posed a particular challenge with regard to the electrical installation. The plans required equipment that was equally discreet, robust and reliable, and which could be integrated easily into the elegant and versatile spaces.
The project architect responsible for all technical services, Matthias Fiegl, came across OBO Bettermann during a search for a power supply through the ground. As the walls and ceiling had to remain untouched due to the strict artistic and restorative restrictions, it was especially important to use floor boxes that were small, robust and harmonious with the aesthetics of the Neues Museum. This was a challenge that OBO Bettermann was able to meet with a unique solution.
Despite constantly evolving requirements during the construction phase, OBO Bettermann developed and supplied over 600 metres of underfloor duct and 624 floor boxes. All system components had to be able to withstand heavy loads, as no load-distributing screed was possible due to the low height of the historic floor structure. The duct had to bear loads of up to 2 tonnes during the shell construction phase, while the floor boxes had to be integrated into into a range of different floor coverings in an inconspicuous yet visually appealing manner, while also withstanding the same loads.
OBO Bettermann developed floor boxes with dimensions of 12.5 x 12.5 cm and a load capacity of 2.5 tonnes. All visible metal parts were made of burnished bronze and embedded into terrazzo floors, polished concrete, concrete blocks, mosaic floors and wooden floorboards. Some of the tanks were equipped with special frames that were not connected at the corners to compensate for ground stress. Other tanks were installed in such a way that the frame was no longer visible.
The final product was bronzed floor boxes that enable flexible access with a Schuko 4x socket and two data connections, while not interfering with the architectural design of the interior, but even aesthetically and discreetly complementing it.