A living laboratory for sustainability

A traditional concrete building in Berlin has been transformed into the world’s first Cradle to Cradle knowledge centre. C2C LAB has been renovated using healthy circular materials. These include several Troldtekt acoustic solutions on ceilings and walls.

Troldtekt acoustic ceilings are the natural choice when wanting to ensure superior acoustics and a healthy indoor climate in, for example, office buildings
Photo: Olaf Wiechers

C2C LAB is housed in a building from 1986 in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin. The laboratory allows architects to experience and experiment with Cradle to Cradle certified building materials. This is not only due to the many training courses, guided tours, expert forums, seminars and workshops that are held at the venue. The building itself serves as a model for integrating healthy, sustainable materials into older buildings.

The building was originally constructed as a ‘Plattenbau’, made from large, prefabricated reinforced concrete elements – a building style that was characteristic of the GDR era. The interior now boasts green walls that purify the air, carpets that bind particles and office furniture that is not only healthy for people, but also for the environment.

Various Troldtekt acoustic solutions have been installed on the ceilings and walls, which are Cradle to Cradle-certified at silver level. Conference and seminar rooms feature Troldtekt ceilings in the colour natural wood, while the walls of other meeting rooms and offices have been clad with grey Troldtekt panels – and an interesting mosaic of natural wood and white and grey painted acoustic panels. 

The building’s ground floor was transformed as part of the extensive renovation. The old walls were demolished, and glass partitions were used to create eight rooms which are lighter and more open. Old damaged floors were removed and replaced with carpets and hard floors. And to draw natural light into the building, the window sections have been enlarged and replaced with window systems.

Need for sustainable innovation

It has been a clear goal that C2C LAB should lead the way in the use of healthy building materials. All the materials used in the 400-square-metre C2C LAB therefore meet the Cradle to Cradle criteria for healthy products that can return to nature or be recycled in new products. The building methods used during the renovation have also met the Cradle to Cradle sustainability criteria. This means, for example, that no materials have been glued together using adhesive or foam. 
- With the C2C LAB, we’re proud to deliver the world’s first refurbishment of an existing building according to Cradle to Cradle criteria, and thus show how ‘Cradle to Cradle’ works in practice. We’re creating a unique lighthouse project that will hopefully serve as an exemplar to be imitated, says Tim Janßen, Executive Director and Board Member of Cradle to Cradle e.V., who is behind the project.