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Architecture – Smart Buildings: Challenges and Opportunities

Christian Olaf Schmidt and Marco Verardi in Conversation

The construction and real estate industry is currently undergoing a major transformation in the area of digitalization and sustainability. From planning and construction to operation and maintenance, digital solutions such as BIM or cloud-based building infrastructures are playing an increasingly important role. The goal is to make the construction and operation of buildings as sustainable, cost-effective and future-proof as possible.

These topics have long since arrived in architectural planning as well. Hardly any large-scale project is realized without a comprehensive data model, and hardly any modern office building is operated without appropriate building automation. This change offers great opportunities, but also poses major challenges for the players involved. We spoke with architect Christian Olaf Schmidt of Schmidt Plöcker Architekten and Marco Verardi, Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure in Frankfurt.

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“In the end, both the smart building and the smart city are only as smart as the people who live there.”

– Christian Olaf Schmidt

“From my point of view, the architectural design and the planning of the building technology – if you are really serious about a smart building – can no longer be separated.”

– Marco Verardi

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SKYLINE ATLAS: Dear Mr. Schmidt, dear Mr. Verardi, thank you very much for taking the time today to have a very interesting conversation with us on the subject of architecture and building technology/sustainability. Today, architecture no longer just has to be visually appealing and fit in with the cityscape; above all, it also has to meet certain sustainability criteria. More and more emphasis is being placed on the topic of smart building and energy efficiency, and hardly any major projects are still being realized without the appropriate certification. First the question to Mr. Schmidt, to what extent has architectural planning changed in recent years in the wake of the sustainability trend?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: Ecological awareness is justifiably booming. The topic of sustainability is the megatrend and, as a long-term idea, an aspect of the zeitgeist that overlays everything and will continue to do so in the long term.

Globally, there continues to be an incredibly high level of liquidity, which is now also seeking appropriate channels in the construction industry, not least due to political pressure, keyword ESG (Environmental Social Governance), through which investments can be made sustainably, and accordingly in line with shareholders. In our experience, this is particularly true in the area of institutional and large housing associations or with large international clients. For architects, it is therefore still indispensable to deal with the certification issue and to be able to understand the background for the evaluation of individual aspects.

Existing certification systems such as DGNB, LEED, BREEAM or the BNB system set up by the German government for its own buildings go into detail with slightly modified focal points and criteria. Even though certification is usually out of the question financially for smaller buildings or the sense of pre-certification is generally to be questioned and the topic of sustainability, passive house and energy saving regulations, as well as KfW funding, has been around for many years, it now seems that the corresponding public pressure is finally there, which can lead to a real positive disruption or change in the industry. Content-related objectives, i.e. saying that we subject everything we do to the aspects of primary energy consumption, resource conservation, short travel distances, CO2 equivalent, etc., are topics that are now breaking like a big wave over the entire real estate industry. In the future, buildings will be measured more than ever according to their ecological, economic and social sustainability, and their value will be judged according to these three factors. However, if we compare today’s architectural planning with that of ten years ago, little or no change is discernible apart from aesthetic fashions and the topic of building types.

The actual way we plan is changing more and more under the aspect of digitalization.

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Marco Verardi (left), Christian Olaf Schmidt (right)

SKYLINE ATLAS: Mr. Schmidt, together with your planning office you designed the building ensemble in the Europaviertel consisting of the flatter “Brick” and the approx. 66 meter high DB Tower. As a so-called passive house, the Brick in particular sets high standards in the area of sustainability. Can you explain to us what a passive house is and how the concept was specifically implemented at the Brick?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: In short, a passive house is a building that, due to its high thermal insulation (U-value of the facade) and the functional principle of significantly reducing ventilation heat losses by means of heat exchangers, generally does not require classic, water-led building heating. So much for the theory of the airtight building envelope of the Passive House Institute founded by Dr. Wolfgang Feist.

From the basic idea, this all sounds wonderful. However, we see the achievement of the final certification as problematic, not least because only certain manufacturers and products are listed on the Institute’s list and are compatible. An example: two windows of the same specification, one is approved by the Institute and the other is not. Technically, both meet the same requirements and U-values, only the approved one costs 20% more. This of course causes economic distortions and is often a knock-out criterion in the argumentation towards the client.

In the case of the Brick example, we planned according to the Passive House standard, including an airtight building envelope, highly efficient and energy-saving technology with a hygienic minimum air exchange rate, and obtained permission to use geothermal energy. As a result, we were able to obtain a DGNB pre-certificate in silver in 2014.
However, with the first prospective tenants for the property, group-specific standards and specifications (e.g. minimum air exchange rates, lower room temperatures, heating-cooling ceilings used throughout, district heating instead of geothermal energy, etc.) were added by the users, which were not compatible or feasible with our original planning as a passive house.

In today’s world, many builders still find themselves governed by such specifications and normative requirements, e.g., 100% compliance with the new ASR or specific collective bargaining requirements, etc. Much of this is good and correct: for example, it is important to address company standards, to raise awareness and to gently point out optimization possibilities. Nevertheless, with the Brick we have now been able to implement the best possible EnEV building, including the high technical requirements of the user.

Through our realized passive house, the Sparkasse headquarters in Groß-Umstadt, we know that the weal and woe is ultimately the user, because it requires a high degree of participation in the operation. The topic “I just open the window when I’m too warm or too cold” no longer works in this way.

In principle, the passive house is still a good and correct topic, especially in owner-occupied housing. But we believe, and know from our own experience, that you have to differentiate from application to application. Particularly in the case of a rented office building, the guard rails should not be set so tightly by Passive House standards, otherwise this can lead to relevant efficiency losses.

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The Brick in the Europaviertel

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The DB Tower

SKYLINE ATLAS: The design of the Brick and the DB Tower resembles the industrial architecture of the 1920s. This creates an architectural link to the former industrial use of the quarter. How do you think the Europaviertel will develop in the future and how do you respond to critics who speak of a monotonous and boring district?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: Of course we know, understand and share to a certain extent the criticism of today’s Europaviertel. But that doesn’t stop us from continuing to think positively about future development. If you want to build, you have to be an optimist!

We think that there are two important aspects to consider before making an assessment: Enormously important is the perspective that Europa-Allee will receive the so necessary public transport connection by streetcar in hopefully two years in order to be comprehensively connected to the rest of Frankfurt. Furthermore, the uninviting, undeveloped properties along Europa-Allee were an obvious problem for a long time. In the meantime, all open building sites have been completed or are at least in the construction phase. With the new F.A.Z. Tower, the Timber Pioneer or the high-rise Messeeingang Süd, the last gaps are now being filled and new activity will enter the quarter. These are sometimes important milestones that have to be awaited before a final report can be issued. Many projects or neighborhood developments show us that it usually takes one or two generations until an urban development is where you want it to be.

However, we can also agree with some of the criticisms. One problem that certainly cannot be dismissed is that the ground-floor zones are often not provided with public uses, the street cross-section is a long way off, networking with adjacent neighborhoods is still inadequate, and there is too much separation between residential and commercial areas. We are convinced that if we manage to turn these screws again, a noticeable improvement can be achieved in the medium term. We have already dedicated ourselves to a possible optimization in our own study, called ZIPP “Zipper for Europa-Allee“, which we continue to regard not as criticism, but as a sensible addition to what already exists.

Instead of just criticizing, our motto is to help shape and make suggestions. A city is never finished…

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SKYLINE ATLAS: When we talk about smart buildings, what exactly can we imagine? What problems/challenges can we solve with smart technologies in the field of building infrastructure?

Marco Verardi: Smart buildings, fundamentally speaking, are buildings that collect and process data. This includes, for example, information about temperatures inside and outside the building, air pressures and the associated air quality, energy consumption, and the status of components such as windows, sun shades, and lighting systems. It also includes the networking of systems for fire protection, security technology, passenger transportation systems such as elevators and/or escalators, and many other system components that move around the building or perform monitoring functions.

With the help of this information, critical conditions can be detected at an early stage or do not occur in the first place. An air conditioning failure in a fully occupied office building quickly leads to chaotic conditions in the summer. Employees are additionally burdened and become unproductive, complaints are received, building operators come under pressure because troubleshooting is often not easy and several trades are involved. Last but not least, recourse claims can be brought forward by tenants. The automatic monitoring of parameters and the reporting of deviations from the standard range allows for specified or manual interventions in the system technology at an early stage. The permanent monitoring of energy consumption in connection with intelligent algorithms which selectively switch on or off or regulate system parts ensure long-term savings and protect the environment. Extensive load management is also helpful in order to always have electrical energy available in the building exactly when it is needed. Simultaneous charging of several e-vehicles as well as parallel cooking of a large kitchen at lunchtime can lead to overload and failure of the grid.

Of course, a smart building also provides additional security in case of emergency. If a fire is detected, for example, cameras can automatically pan to the supposed source of the fire and evaluate a possible false alarm first. Furthermore, light guidance systems can be used to direct building users to the nearest emergency exit in the event of an evacuation, while at the same time guiding rescue forces to the scene of the incident without directly encountering the people to be evacuated.

Comfort functions are also more in demand today than ever before. It is now possible without any problems for the building to detect my entry into the building, and while I am on my way to my desk, the light is switched on there and the sun protection is adjusted to my needs, as well as the conditioning of the temperature.

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Christian Olaf Schmidt: We have something against “hyper-anglicisms” Digitalization per se doesn’t make everything better, but I find it difficult to talk about smart buildings. Buildings are divided into building shell, structure and function, but what it’s all about in the end is recorded data and data points. What do I do with that data afterwards? That’s what it comes down to.

Aside from that, smart building is getting a counter-trend to current research on low-tech, or even no-tech homes. Here, the attempt is being made to build on an equal footing via sustainable building materials, products that are as simple and as pure as possible, and design aspects.

Nevertheless, the “smart building” trend will not be reversible. Of course, we are open to the topic, but we must be aware that this complexity must also be looked after, led and, above all, managed. It will therefore be interesting to see how we can make technology resilient and simple enough in the future to offer maximum convenience and functional reliability in construction, operation and use.

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SKYLINE ATLAS: Can architectural design and the planning of building services engineering be separated at all nowadays? At what point in the planning process do the two topics have to be thought of together?

Marco Verardi: From my point of view, these two topics – if you are really serious about a smart building – can no longer be separated. With clever architectural tricks, the sensors and actuators required for building automation can disappear almost invisibly behind wall/floor coverings or the facade. Sufficiently large planned shafts and technical centers ensure that the ever increasing amount of cables, controllers, measuring and actuating elements, counting systems, transmitting and receiving units (to name just a few examples) can be safely installed in accordance with the applicable regulations. Furthermore, it also helps to enable an uncomplicated replacement or modification of the technology in the case of future technologies.

But also planned lights in ceiling systems that also serve as heating and cooling elements or the slow but effective use of concrete core activation lead to an energy-saving and sustainable building that also meets the highest architectural demands.

Comprehensive planning of building services engineering therefore begins with the planning of the building envelope.

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Christian Olaf Schmidt: Complexity and technology are a factual part of our planning these days. That’s why for us, the earlier we cooperate as a team, the better. For us as architects, the fundamental approach is always to work together in partnership with all those involved in the planning from the very beginning, exclusively in an integral manner. Collaboration and cooperation is the basis of project success.

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SKYLINE ATLAS: For a long time, the glass facade embodied modern architectural standards, at least on high-rise buildings. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in critical voices claiming that glass facades are not particularly sustainable due to their poor insulation values. Is that true?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: You can’t say that. Good triple glazing sometimes has a better heat transfer coefficient and insulation value than an insulated masonry wall. The critical issues here are rather the connections, frames and, above all, air tightness.

Glass facades are neither good nor bad per se. Particularly in first floor zones, a design with glass still has an inviting, transparent effect and therefore makes sense as a building material. However, we tend to consider it sensible to limit the proportion of glass on rising floors to about 40% in order to exclude undesirable heat gain, in conjunction with external sun protection and internal glare protection in accordance with workplace requirements for office and administrative buildings.

SKYLINE ATLAS: Let’s stay with the facades. At the latest since the EDEN Tower is being built in Frankfurt and the city openly calls for the greening of the skyline in its coalition agreement, façade greening has also arrived in the Main metropolis. What do you think of this trend and what role does building technology play in it?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: Greening has definitely arrived in the Main metropolis; and we consider the trend to be the right one. Facade greening can protect facades from undesirable weather effects and intense heating from solar radiation. They filter dust, improve air quality, evaporation cools and, in addition, provide an acoustic improvement. Due to air cushions it insulates in a natural way, especially from March to September; for centuries this has been proven in many types of buildings.

Due to preventive fire protection, however, a green facade is still classified as a “rear-ventilated combustible facade” and is therefore often subject to limited approval without further ado. For a high-rise building, for example, some special approvals are required here. In addition, wall-mounted facade systems are subject to high installation and maintenance costs. Special “pots” or substrate containers must be integrated into the facade in which the plants can grow. The necessary supply of water and nutrients is provided by a complex building technology system. Through the complex irrigation system, which must reach each of the vessels, the planting can be sufficiently irrigated and also drained.

However, this type of facade design is particularly cost-intensive and ultimately requires extensive maintenance. In the case of high facades, the effort involved is extreme. We know of many built examples that are iconic of this trend, such as the “Bosco Vertical” in Milan.

We believe in façade greening; see the benefits and the positive effect, however, in terms of planning regulations, especially in fire protection, and the high technical and economic expenses, there is a need to find suitable use cases and building types. An accompanying fundamental strategy for shading and greening the inner cities for climatic improvement is elementary for a sustainable and climate-friendly living and working environment.

Greening has definitely arrived in the Main metropolis and we consider the trend to be the right one.

– Christian Olaf Schmidt

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SKYLINE ATLAS: It may be easier to equip newly constructed buildings with intelligent technology than existing properties. What are the challenges with so-called revitalizations in terms of building technology equipment?

Marco Verardi: That’s right. As mentioned before, local conditions often cause us difficulties. Today, we need extensive networks for data communication, which are either not installed at all in older buildings or are no longer suitable for today’s transmission speeds. Depending on how deeply the technology is interfered with, it is not possible to get more power out of ventilation or refrigeration systems than originally planned, even with the most modern technology – the energy saving possibilities are reduced to a minimum and are most effective when system parts are completely switched off via time programs. However, this is not the goal of an intelligent building, because modern systems can now recover parts of their energy and report impending malfunctions at an early stage by monitoring the parameters.

The topic of building behavior and energy consumption becomes really interesting when the building envelope is also included in the technical consideration. This applies to glass surfaces as well as insulation materials and the arrangement of technical equipment on roof surfaces or in the building itself. Often, in the case of revitalizations, the technical data and specifications of the building materials are no longer available or have not been documented in the case of changes in the current years. Thus it is not guaranteed that really all technical possibilities can be exhausted. This is where digital planning and documentation – as well as the continuation in building operation – can help with new buildings, both now and in the future – keyword: Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Christian Olaf Schmidt: We would want to look at this in a differentiated way. I don’t know whether it’s generally possible to say that equipping new buildings with intelligent technology is easier than equipping existing buildings.

If we take one of our current projects in Düsseldorf as an example. There we are working on a high-rise building with thirteen floors that is being completely reduced to the shell within the framework of existing planning law. Both the finishing, the building envelope and the technical building equipment are being completely redesigned. Of course, with such revitalizations one always encounters challenges, such as the clear room height, but there are solutions for everything and enough possibilities to integrate technology intelligently. And what is simple today – everything is complex.

In the overall view, we at Schmidt Plöcker Architekten are convinced that dealing with existing buildings is highly exciting, and often better from an environmental point of view than building new. The best house is the one we continue to build, instead of a new replacement. It is always worthwhile to look at what is there and to see what potential we can create together.

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SKYLINE ATLAS: In Frankfurt, the Timber Pioneer in the Europaviertel is the first six-story timber hybrid high-rise to be built. What can we hope for in the future in this respect? Will there also be buildings with a height of up to 100 meters in timber hybrid construction in a few years’ time?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: We are also very intensively involved with the topic of wood hybrid as a result of the competition we recently won for the Hellerhöfe district in Frankfurt am Main. In the near future, we will soon be able to realize a high-rise building ourselves using this construction method along Mainzer Landstraße. Together with the building owners, we have already examined several prominent examples (e.g. Switzerland) in the course of our work, and have had intensive discussions with users, planners, building owners as well as executing companies. We are therefore very optimistic that this will work well and will also be used more frequently in the future. However, the condition must be to carefully check supply chains and the origin of raw materials so that we can ensure the availability of resources sustainably and regionally in the future.

It’s like many things, once you get involved in a subject; then it becomes really good!

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The construction site of the Timber Pioneer

SKYLINE ATLAS: Let’s stay on the topic of wood hybrids. How does the building technology in wood hybrid buildings differ from conventional concrete and glass construction?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: Ultimately, there are few compelling distinctions. Of course, we find certain limitations in wood hybrid construction due to the horizontal support structure, beams, etc., which entail system-specific requirements – acceptable from our point of view – in direct comparison with a flat slab made of reinforced concrete; however, this is not a problem in detail due to systematic planning with a high degree of prefabrication and integral (BIM) planning to guide media and routes. A convertible is different from a delivery truck.

SKYLINE ATLAS: How does building technology differ for office space and residential space? Would it be conceivable to convert formerly commercial high-rises into residential high-rises?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: At this point, it can be seen that highly specialized building types and a regular constructive distinction between living and working make adaptability and sustainability in urban development more difficult. Technically, both office and residential uses can be simply or highly complexly equipped. Then, given an appropriate budget, there are no limits. However, the building types of past times are bidirectionally adaptable. A Gründerzeit house can be residential, office and residential again… appropriate room heights, neutral floor plans make it possible.

Regardless of this, the following applies: Conversion creates sustainability!  Turning a contemporary office building into a residential building is usually easier than the other way around. Especially when it comes to floor heights, accessibility, and flexibility of the floor plan, there is a high degree of variability for planning the living spaces. The building technology is also much less complex as a rule. From our point of view, a change of use is a very exciting and above all rewarding task, both from a planning and an economic point of view; especially with digital planning methods and appropriate mapping of the existing building stock. A good example is the office city in Niederrad, which is being transformed into the Lyon Quarter. Many buildings originally used as office and administrative buildings are being converted into residential properties here; at the same time, further densification is being achieved through supplementary residential construction. Here, we prepared a comprehensive feasibility study for the Nestlé site for the property owner, which includes the listed high-rise building. Here, too, we succeeded in keeping the neighborhood viable for the future by intervening in planning law, differentiating uses, and changing the urban structure. A success story from our point of view!

Marco Verardi: Building technology for residential spaces is less complex. As a rule, heat is supplied via radiators or the floor. Air conditioning is rare, and active ventilation is standard in low-energy houses at best. In the living area, it is more a matter of networking lighting and blinds in conjunction with stored scenes for the TV experience, for example. Operation via smartphones or voice control of media services is also crucial. This all works via data networks and interfaces that have been standard in commercial high-rise buildings for years. The end devices used by the residents are as flexible and varied as they are themselves. A significant increase in comfort can therefore be expected when commercial high-rises are converted into residential buildings – provided that the existing air conditioning and ventilation systems are not dismantled.

If anything, there will be a significant increase in comfort when commercial high-rises are converted to residential high-rises.

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SKYLINE ATLAS: We have now talked a lot about technology on and in buildings. Nowadays, planning and modeling also take place with computer-aided software. How has the architect’s job changed as a result of BIM, and perhaps you could explain this term to us again?

Christian Olaf Schmidt: For our office Schmidt Plöcker Architekten, BIM is a compelling necessity and the path in the right direction, which we have consistently pursued for many years. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and refers to a holistic planning method using a comprehensive three-dimensional data model, the so-called digital twin. With our planning method, we generate a virtual building model together with all the necessary information for planning, construction and also for subsequent operation.

The early comprehensive control of the data set forces all parties involved to transparency and commitment in the planning process. The digital building twin ensures reliable coordination of all relevant planning processes and enables continuous and optimized exchange between all parties involved. By merging the information from all trades, we are able to detect and identify spatial geometric and technical collisions at an early stage. In a nutshell: the consistent application of BIM overall coordination virtually eliminates built planning-related errors.

SKYLINE ATLAS: If you take the term smart buildings a step further, you end up with the concept of the smart city. How can such a diverse and heterogeneous entity as a large city be standardized and systematized in a certain technical way?

Marco Verardi: Leading companies, developers, urban planners and experts from the individual trades have been working together for years in specialist circles on standardized solutions. One success of recent years, for example, is the BACnet communication protocol in building automation, which also enables the interaction of individual manufacturers or is able to provide data that other trades can use for themselves. Thus, it will be increasingly important to develop standardized data interfaces that either parameterize themselves or can be programmed with little effort via so-called APIs.

From my point of view, for sustainable success, fundamental thought must be given to energy supply. This is because charging infrastructures and smart buildings require electrical energy – this only works sustainably in conjunction with renewable energies, for example photovoltaic systems. Since the transport of energy also leads to energy losses and high costs, the necessary areas for these technologies must also be planned and designated in urban planning. As with the revitalization of buildings, the entire spectrum of technical possibilities can only be implemented in a future-proof manner if we do everything we can with our current knowledge to take the individual trades into account fully, with the help of specialists and experts, right from the first steps of planning.

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Christian Olaf Schmidt: Don’t get me wrong, but in the end, both the “smart” building and the “smart” city are only as smart as the people who live there. Smart building, smart city, new work and electromobility are all very promising concepts.

I think the idea of the city is primarily a dimensional one. In other words, in the sense of space, use of space and programming. By that I don’t mean information technology, but programming in the sense of “what happens in this place”?

We can build 1,000 office or residential buildings that are all networked and have millions of data points, but they still don’t form a city. At best, a collection or unit of houses without any spatial quality. Data is important and helpful; but we must not underestimate the elemental idea that ultimately constitutes communities: Namely, to conceive of the city as the ultimate place of encounter, diversity, contrasts, and use. And this has primarily to do with being human, humanity. Let’s remember the question about the Europaviertel: Only the evolved mixture of young and old, different biographies and ways of life, manifested in living, working and culture, enables a lively space that we all appreciate so much as a place of genuine encounter.

SKYLINE ATLAS: Let’s take a look into the future: which innovations in the field of building automation are still conceivable and how will smart buildings influence architectural work in the long term?

Marco Verardi: Trends that are already foreseeable today are applications from software developers and start-ups that dock onto existing building automation systems. In the future, it will no longer be possible for a building automation manufacturer to have all requirements and solutions in its own portfolio. Hybrid working from a wide variety of locations will merge commercial and private technology. It is already possible to control the lighting in the office by voice control – with the same commands as at home in the living room. I am also convinced that more and more software-based components – such as intelligent, digital valve controls for the heating system – will replace classic building automation with partly analog components. Already today, it is no longer necessary for all programs and data to be located on a hard drive in the building, but the intelligence is always available in a private area in a data center using the most modern and secure technology. Cloud-based applications, automatic data transfer, self-learning algorithms and a holistic view of the building and its environment make building automation a central component. Through a close exchange, the technology will no longer adapt to the building envelope, but the building will constantly evolve with the technical possibilities.

Christian Olaf Schmidt: When we talk about future scenarios in building automation, a scene from the 1997 film “The Fifth Element” by Luc Besson with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich spontaneously comes to mind. If someday we live in a city where we step out of the 68th floor in a garden while getting delicious dim sums from the nice flying chef, and still have a chat about politics and the weather. For me, that’s the kind of smart building or smart city that makes us happy because it’s human.

SKYLINE ATLAS: Dear Mr. Schmidt, dear Mr. Verardi, thank you very much for the interview.

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From left: Jakob Schickedanz (SKYLINE ATLAS), Marco Verardi (Siemens), Christian Olaf Schmidt (Schmidt Plöcker Architekten)

About Christian Olaf Schmidt

Christian Olaf Schmidt founded the Schmidt Plöcker Architekten office together with Markus Plöcker in 2010. As a trained carpenter, he studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe and subsequently completed studies at Rice University in Houston with a focus on urban design. Schmidt worked for a long time in Berlin (among others for Arata Isozaki Associates, Renzo Piano Building Workshop and HOK-MurphyJahn). During his time in Frankfurt, he worked for KSP – Jürgen Engel Architekten and Prof. Christoph Mäckler Architekten. Schmidt is a member of the board of the Frankfurt Association of Architects and Engineers (AIV) and has been a member of the Urban Planning Advisory Board of the City of Frankfurt am Main since 2016.

Based in Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt am Main, Schmidt Plöcker Architekten is one of the most successful architectural firms in the Rhine-Main region, operating throughout Germany and internationally. The strength of the office lies in the fact that the entire achievement spectrum of architecture is taken on, the Portfolio covers the architectural conception as well as the planning and realization of projects of most different typology, size and achievement phase. The office now comprises a team of around 60 interdisciplinary experts consisting of architects and engineers.

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Christian Olaf Schmidt

About Marco Veradi

Marco Verardi works for Siemens AG in Frankfurt as Head of Sales for Building Automation. Mr. Verardi started his career at Siemens and is a trained energy operations technician. He completed his studies with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

After completing his training, Mr. Verardi joined the project management team at Siemens. In this role, he was responsible for the execution of numerous building automation projects, from smaller real estate projects to high-rise buildings such as the TaunusTurm, as a project manager and certified project manager.

In 2015, Marco Verardi became head of the Siemens Engineering Center for Building Automation. Three years later, the fire alarm technology and security technology divisions were incorporated there. Since 2019, Mr. Verardi has been head of sales for building automation for the greater Frankfurt area.

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Marco Veradi