A site within a residential area and in proximity to a natural preservation area was bought by our clients, with the idea to build high quality flats for people enjoying the years before and after retirement – ‘best agers’ aged around 50 to 70.
‘in_design architektur’ was asked, not to have a fixed view on norms and standards – and explicitly not to ‘plan around wheelchairs’, but do develop spacy, generous rooms. Of course door openings are wide and there are no thresholds to balconies or showers – to make it short: everything that simplifies the everyday use and maximises comfort for everybody – with or without impairments.
The clients were very careful about ‘the little details’ also – everything from toilet seat features to parking space widths was intensely discussed and planned to create a solid and valuable home.
The products chosen also reflect these thoughts - not even a doorknob in the house would express an ‘investment-optimized plasticky’ appearance. All flats will remain attractive over the decades to dome.
Instead of ‘building for disabled’ or ‘building for the old’ the building was thought, planned and erected with the thought of ‘building for everybody’. Thus the floor plans work as flats for couples, singles – or for people who need a room for nursing staff – or simply a young family with children. Two flats are without barriers and can be accessed by wheelchair from street level. Furthermore the staircase is prepared to take an elevator, should there be the need for it in years to come – ten todays ‘parking space for walking frames and bobbycars’ would be slightly reduced.
Plot The Plot is within a grown residential area at the edge of ‘Mühlheim am Main’, a small city near Frankfurt in Germany. In the north there is a large area of fields and woods leading to the river Main after approximately 1,000m. Views into this part of nature are very attractive.
The road is at the southern border – at the east and west there are further residential buildings with single and multi-family homes. The area is characterised by buildings with two stories and sloped roofs. Remarkable is the roads bend, at which the plot is situated. Through this the building becomes an urban joint connecting rows of houses from different directions.
There is no urban planning masterplan for the area, so the design mainly respects the surrounding buildings and the structure. This includes a wall height of max. 6.50m and a roof height of max. 10.50m.
Formal Concept / Morphology The building is designed as ‘gable-ended long-house’, which is typical for the area. Balconies on the road- and backside are pointing out with slanting edges to continue both neighbours’ flight. The slope, height and shape of the roof reclines the existing and surrounding structures. Sculptural incisions to the buildings body – as well as the balconies – drop back from the main volume and highlight the design by a differing materiality.
Users / Units Due to a slight slope the cellar automatically peeks out and grants easier availability of bicycles and prams in the room situated there. The ground floor units have terraces with direct garden access. Al flats at least have one balcony or terrace. The Main entrance is at the driveway on the east façade and directly enters the three-flight staircase, from which two units on every floor are accessed.
Inside the units the views are optimized to directly gain views into the surrounding nature whilst entering. Windows there have floor-to-ceiling height. All main rooms are orientated towards the views to nature – bedrooms are at the side, the windows there have balustrades guaranteeing privacy. Next to standard outfit and facilities the house has solar warmwater and ventilation with heat regain. The energy consumption is 20% lower than standard newly built projects.