Research Institute Iris Adlershof

About the object

The new research institute IRIS (Integrative Research Institute for the Science) is being added to the Adlershof campus of Humboldt University Berlin. Funded by the state and federal government, two existing buildings will be connected with a new building and research and teaching can take place on approximately 220 square metres of office and meeting space as well as 2500 square metres of laboratory space. Wilhelm Humboldt’s idea: “The unity of teaching and research” shaped the concept of the Berlin University, which was founded as early as 1810 and is still considered the mother of all “modern universities”.


Nickl & Partner Architekten AG


Education & Daycare



Building owner

Humboldt-Universität Berlin



Dynamic façade design and spatial depth

Nickl & Partner Architekten AG won over the Berlin urban developers in the urban planning competition and sought cooperation with renowned specialists in metal and glass façades for the façade work. For the striking new building with a recessed glass foyer in the basement, the architects planned a rear-ventilated metal façade for the first and first floors. A dynamic façade image with spatial depth was the creative approach in the design process for the south façade. The idea was implemented with perforated sheet cassettes made of bare aluminium. Aluminium is light, robust, impresses with its structural strength, can be processed perfectly and is therefore versatile in design. Hole patterns of different sizes with a constant vertical and horizontal position of the hole axis guarantee a variable diversity of the façade with only “one” element.

Baier can simply do more than just standard

Façades fulfil numerous functions; among other things, they significantly regulate the incidence of natural light and function as wind, weather and sun protection. In contrast to the 3rd floor, where only technical rooms are located, the façade of the structure on the 2nd floor was to be openable according to its use. The requirements for the sun protection were a uniform joint pattern and flushness of the façade. The newly developed lift-fold shutter from the proven Baier product range fitted perfectly into the concept.

Tailor-made sun protection – Lifting folding shutters

The field of application for lifting shutters is versatile. Particularly or especially in modern façade construction, lifting folding shutters offer a wide range of possibilities in terms of façade flushness and design. When the lift-fold shutter is closed, the flush effect of the façade is maintained – the wings are optimally integrated. A patented special hinge enables flush closing without the hinges being visible from the outside. A multi-point locking system prevents opening from the outside and thus offers additional protection against burglary. When open, the folding lift shutter system stands in front of the façade in a V-shape at the top end of the system. This position ensures a stable position, even in strong winds. Similar to a canopy, the covering “V” still provides effective sun protection on the outside. The shade cast by the sunshade corresponds to that of an awning, and the interior is pleasantly tempered.

Bundled expert knowledge

The frame system of the lifting folding system consists of a combination of several modular aluminium profiles. An inspection profile is attached to this frame, which can be removed if necessary, for example to check safety-relevant components during inspections. The guide rails of the folding system model were anodised in silver to match the planking. This special surface treatment gives the rail a high surface hardness, makes it robust and protects it from corrosion, mechanical, chemical and atmospheric influences.

The sash system can be fitted with different profiles as required, on the one hand to meet the static requirements, and on the other hand to be able to respond to individual customer wishes, as there are almost no limits to the panelling of the sashes. The palette ranges from HPL panels to wood to glass or, as in this project, metal.

Individual folding shutters made of perforated sheeting

The perforated sheet cassettes made of bare aluminium were supplied by the façade manufacturer Fassadentechnik Weiser. The standard system is designed for weights per unit area of approx. 15 to 20 kg per square metre. However, lift-fold shutter systems must always be planned individually for each project, as the size and filling of the wings, the installation situation and the concrete dimensions are included in the planning and design. In outdoor areas, wind loads must also be included in the planning and project design.

Safety paired with design

Highly functional solutions were used for the automation of the folding lift. A carriage system consisting of plastic-coated high-tech stainless steel ball bearings ensures high load-bearing capacity and smooth running. A fall protection system is integrated, which has already proven itself for many years in the renowned Baier vertical sliding windows. The lifting folding system is driven by a motor positioned in the upper area, which is coupled to a toothed belt system. An in-house and reliable Baier product was also used for the control system.

Knowledge becomes innovation – that means combining development, research and application. This guiding principle applies to the Iris Research Institute as well as to the traditional family-owned company Baier. Because “new and further developments as well as successful innovations have become one of the most important competitive factors of a company”, says Johannes Baier, “assuming, of course, creative and resourceful employees who enjoy new challenges”.

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