Berlin just broke ground on Siemens’ 188-acre “district of the future”

Siemen’s render of “Siemensstadt Square”
German chancellor Olaf Scholz and Berlin mayor Kai Wegner attended the groundbreaking on Tuesday of “Siemensstadt Square”, a 188-acre business and residential district in a historic brownfield area of Berlin’s Spandau borough, spearheaded by Siemens.

Residential space covering 270,000 sq m will provide homes for up to 7,000 people, with 30% of the space reserved for social housing.

Siemens said its commercial partners in the venture could invest up to €4.5bn by 2035, creating up to 20,000 jobs in manufacturing and research.

Siemens itself will invest €750m in the scheme during the period.

It called the scheme a blueprint for the effective design of urban brownfield developments.

Digital twins and artificial intelligence will help make the district sustainable and adaptable, the company said.

It will have Europe’s largest wastewater heat exchanger, installed with help from Berliner Wasserbetriebe, Berlin’s water and wastewater utility, and an energy supplier.

Now, the district emits around 3,000 tons of CO2 a year, but the heat exchanger will combine with heat pumps to start supplying the district with carbon-neutral heating and cooling in 2026.

That system itself will be powered by renewables.

‘Place of the future’

“This laying of the foundation stone is encouraging,” said Olaf Scholz, “because it shows what we can already achieve in Germany today in urban planning and in the construction of modern neighbourhoods.

“Siemensstadt will remain what it has been for 125 years, a place of new beginnings, a place of the future and of confidence.”

Siemens president and chief executive, Roland Busch, said the digital technology used in its design would be “an engine for solid, healthy growth”.

“Net zero will be ensured through automated production and building technology, optimised energy management, and green mobility. It will be a blueprint for sustainable growth and competitiveness through digitalisation,” he said.

Berlin mayor Kai Wegner said it would be “an advanced, sustainable smart city in the middle of one of Berlin’s fastest-growing areas for new construction”.

Digitally shaped and managed

Siemens said AI would help with biodiversity monitoring and managing traffic, energy, traffic, and waste.

One big digital twin will consolidate all datapoints from a campus digital twin, building twins, and an energy twin, giving a complete virtual model of the district.

Siemens said this would allow new urban concepts to be tested so that a “liveable future” could be “actively shaped”.

Some 250,000 sq m of operational industrial buildings more than 100 years old have already been integrated into a “walk-in” twin.

Appearing from 2026

The groundbreaking marked the start of construction for Module 1 of Siemensstadt.

The first two buildings are scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2026: an atrium building called Siemens Hub Berlin, and an information pavilion that will keep local residents up to date on the project’s progress.

A 60-meter high-rise structure to house part of Siemens’ Mobility team, and a redesigned entrance plaza are also under construction.

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