The new buildings were funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Equality for Lower Saxony to facilitate the provision of affordable homes in conurbations for low-income households and improve the quality of the rented housing stock. The student apartments on Lodyweg can also be offered, depending on need, to other demographic groups such as the elderly, single people of any age or apartment-sharing groups. Changing the room structure, for example by combining several spatial units together, can be done without any problems thanks to the lightweight construction of all the party walls.
No new student halls of residence had been built in Hanover for 20 years. The project, which consists of 80 new apartments, ensures the availability of attractive and inexpensive living space near Leibniz University Hanover.
The location at the edge of the Georgengarten of the famous "HerrenhäuserGärten" is thoroughly charming and reachable by foot from all the university faculties. The sensitive integration of the buildings into the English landscape garden while retaining the maximum number of existing trees alone was enough to allow planning permission to be granted without any revision of the local plan for this site in Hanover.
Four student dormitories from the 1950s originally stood on the ground owned by the student services organisation Studentenwerk Hannover. Two of the existing buildings had to be replaced because of their dilapidated condition. A sheltered, communal internal courtyard was formed between loosely grouped volumes. By offsetting the blocks to one another, the architects created a variety of pathways and wonderful visual relationships within the ensemble.
Minimising the circulation space within the buildings and placing the access stairways on the outside achieves a very high space efficiency quotient. Two blocks are served by one shared, open stairwell. Lifts can be installed as an option. The building modules were arranged flexibly in rows or groups and sensitively integrated with the existing trees. Because the site is on the floodplain of the River Leine, no living space has been designed for the ground floor of the new buildings. The ground floor plinth with its robust masonry facing instead contains the student services organisation's working rooms and offices. Should the need arise, these can be used for other purposes – such as offices, administration or business. The apartments on the upper floors can be combined variously to create larger residential units thanks to the party walls between them being free of building services installations. The concept of adding such housing modules of various sizes to a site is transferable to other urban spaces where an increased density of development is to be achieved while integrating with the existing urban context.
An optimised surface area/volume ratio ensures a low heating energy requirement. Thus it is possible to achieve high KfWEffizienzhaus standards. The new residential buildings on Lodyweg achieve close to passive house standard – KfW 40.