A new form of accommodation in Darmstadt
Anna Schork, Technische Universität Darmstadt
In view of the increased demand for temporary living, it is necessary to develop a new architectural approach beyond the conventional apartments. This alternative housing type consists of small flats equipped with a shared service zone. As well as individuality and private areas, the apartment provides comfort while at the same time, secluded public areas offer residents the opportunity to rendezvous. In addition, there is a high demand for 1- to 1.5-room apartments due to the fact that this size has not been constructed since well before the turn of the century. The alternative accommodation required by this project is not new by any means. Community housing, boarding houses, retirement communities, dormitories and hotels offer architectural answers. In comparison to the already existing dwellings, the new form of housing should appeal to all age groups. Through the intelligent arrangement of space and structure, the building appeals to many different lifestyles and ensures an attra ctive mix of residents.
The site benefits not only from its prominent position in the city but also from the neighbouring green belt. The slice separates the well-frequented street in the north from the park with its mature tree population in the south. The long sculptural form leaves the city structure to the west and flows into the natural parkland on the city‘s outskirts.
A few meters from the street and situated at the edge of the park, the building, surrounded by trees, carves its way into the green. The slight bend in its geometry accentuates the building‘s reach towards the woodland while at the same time flanking the street to the north. The height is adapted to the surrounding city structure and varies from four to five storeys. The entrances are mainly oriented towards the park side. The sequence of restaurant, lobby, and coffee bar enhances the qualities of the park. Access to all apartments is reached by means of an “interior road” that runs along the north side of the complex. As a double-storey hall, this “Rue intérieure” follows the curved geometry of the building and dominates its northern facade. It also serves as a meeting place for the residents. The lower level consists of flats having both north and south exposures whereas the upper level is made up of duplex apartments. On the same level as the “Rue intérieure”, you can enter small, south-facing apartments.
The apartments are organised back to back and are lined up above, along and below the hallway. On the upper floor, the appeal of units is heightened by a double-storey room facing the park which emphasizes the vertical expression of the facade.
As a sculptural form, the building fits perfectly in the landscape. Vertical concrete elements interrupt the long sides of the form and reflect the upright aspect of the surrounding trees. The complex is an elegant slice serving as a backbone to both the street and the park fulfilling its architectural purpose as a scenic sculpture.