Providing an emergency exit cover for the Berlin Museum of the Future in the immediate vicinity of the Reichstag and the main railway station is a special reference in itself. However, this is not the only reason why this project also made history for us. Come visit the Futurium Berlin with us!
The Futurium in Berlin, which opened in 2019, is a home for the future and invites its visitors to engage with issues concerning the future. It is simultaneously a museum, a place for research, exchange and encounter and for events and exhibitions. Its cast glass façade and spatial design make it an architectural showpiece. In terms of functionality, the building is ahead of its time: it meets the standard of a lowest- energy building, supplies itself with heat and electricity almost entirely through its own solar energy collectors and hybrid energy storage systems, and uses collected rainwater to cool the building.
In a building with so many functions, the emergency exit needs to work perfectly. This is where we come in - ACO Passavant Detego.
The project involved providing a cover for a horizontal emergency exit located in a public square at the side of the Futurium. This is where an escape route leads, which is used to access the basement of the building in an emergency.
The biggest challenge was a small detail: the handrail of the emergency staircase had to reach to the end of the staircase and not stop just before. At first, it sounds like only a little more material is required. The final piece of the puzzle was to to incorporate the automatically extending handrail while maintaining the overall appearance, but how?
ACO Passavant Detego is the specialist for customised manhole covers and floor access doors. The products we supply are usually custom-made. This was also the case with the emergency exit cover at the Futurium Berlin, which required us to do a lot of innovative thinking for the extended handrail.
This piece of the puzzle fit quite well. The emergency exit at the Futurium is not exactly small with a clear width of 1.66 x 5.13 metres. There is a lot of material and therefore weight involved, which interacts with each other even when at rest, but which must of course withstand heavy loads, especially when in motion, and quite simply have to function properly. Despite the large dimensions, a complicated emergency exit such as this involves precision work down to the nearest millimetre. Each part has to be positioned correctly and move to the right place at the right time - all within seconds of the opening button being pressed.
We also succeeded in integrating the extended automatic handrail into the complex system of the emergency exit. The exact details of how the solution works remain a trade secret, of course, but the photos of the emergency exit speak volumes.
The floor access door folds open using a hydraulic drive as soon as the opening mechanism is triggered. The emergency staircase including handrail is fully extended and ready for use within 25 seconds. Even in the event of a blackout. Of course, the hatch has protection against closing and falling inwards.
The handrail that runs all the way to the end of the staircase provides extra safety to prevent accidents from happening over the last few metres when fleeing from a fire. An advantage that sets new standards!
Each of our projects is different and there is always something new to learn. Special requirements always drive development forward. Experience like this is what makes us a leader in innovation. We have already been able to apply the knowledge we gained from Futurium to other projects. Perhaps we will be doing the same for you too?