At AFBA the overriding concern is for people’s health: Its aim is to improve the wellbeing of allergy-sufferers in buildings and support the construction industry in developing allergy-friendly projects. Although people spend the majority of their time (over 80 percent) in buildings, in the past little attention has been paid to allergy-friendly construction – be it for people’s homes, for work spaces, or in public buildings
The ECARF certificate for AM TACHELES includes a scientific and medical assessment of the scheduled construction materials and outdoor greenery. The examination includes all buildings in the district and includes floor and wall coverings, adhesives and sealing materials used, wall paints and varnishes, fittings of steel, aluminium, plastics and wood, air-conditioning devices and technical equipment, and extends through to the trees planted in public areas. The assessment involves the project developer undergoing a multi-stage examination procedure that consists of the phases analysis, execution, precertification, final examinations and certificate.
“People and their health are our most precious asset. The ECARF quality seal is a commitment to all people and a signal for responsibility and humanity. Moreover, it should be stressed that the seal is only ever awarded according to medical criteria,” says AFBA Managing Director Angela Balatoni. “The new AM TACHELES urban quarter is blazing the trail in this regard and breaking new ground for a forward-looking and health-conscious development of buildings and outdoor spaces that allow a completely new quality of time spent there.”
AFBA (Allergy Friendly Buildings Alliance)
AFBA sees itself as a partner to the construction industry at the interface to orthodox medicine; it supports project developers in attaining the seal for allergy-friendly buildings. For the medical assessment and examination AFBA works closely with the ECARF Foundation that is in turn one of the co-founders of AFBA. AFBA supports the Foundation with its expertise and has the exclusive right to award the ECARF quality seal for allergy-friendly buildings. AFBA conducts the prescribed compliance examination.
ECARF (European Centre for Centre Allergy Research Foundation)
The ECARF Foundation was founded back in 2003, and the Chairman of the Board is the internationally renowned allergy-expert Prof. Torsten Zuberbier. For many years the Foundation has also supported medical research at the Berlin Charité and cooperates worldwide with 129 university clinics. The Foundation also awards a seal for allergy-friendly products and services. A more recent and very complex topic is allergy-friendly buildings.
“The aim of the Foundation is to make the life of people who suffer from allergies more pleasant and as free from symptoms as possible,” says Prof. Torsten Zuberbier. “Now for the first time we are awarding the ECARF seal to a real-estate development and in doing so creating new standards for the wellbeing of people in and around buildings.”
The AM TACHELES urban quarter
The AM TACHELES urban quarter is currently one of the most important (urban planning) developments in the capital. The concept devised by Pritzker prize-winner Herzog & de Meuron foresees ten new buildings boasting quite extraordinary architecture grouped around the former Kunsthaus Tacheles on usable space of some 84,700 m2. Seven of these will be highly individually designed residential buildings while the remaining three will be sophisticated office buildings. With the International Museum for Photography and Art Fotografiska the former Kunsthaus Tacheles will once again become a place for culture. Moreover, a unique shopping district whose selected stores and restaurants line the new quarter’s public squares and streets will invite people to linger.
“We are creating a new urban quarter that combines the highest quality of living, shopping, working and culture in the very heart of Berlin. In our eyes this means surroundings that likewise offer residents, employees and visitors the best possible amenity value. The allergy-friendly nature of the quarter meets this demand,” says Sebastian Klatt, Managing Director pwr development, “So we are all the happier that AM TACHELES is the first real-estate project to be pre-certified with the ECARF seal as allergy-friendly.”
The international practice of engineers, consultants and advisers Buro Happold advised the AFBA on the development of the ECARF seal to create a certification system that integrates construction-related, material-related and medical aspects into the certification.
“A healthy environment is fundamental to sustainable development and is also medically evaluated,” explains Thomas Kraubitz from Buro Happold, who accompanied the development of the ECARF certification system for buildings and quarters. “Here health becomes palpable and the advantages of an allergy-free planning and execution can also be experienced by those without allergies, say through a conscious handling of construction materials and offering advice to tenants at an early stage.”
The ECARF quality seal for the construction and real-estate industry continues to attract great interest. Currently AFBA is actively accompanying the certification procedure of six other real-estate projects including an international project in the United States.