The subject of housing in Hamburg’s Hafencity has long been left to the free market. It was only a few years ago that the city began to provide for subsidised housing here. One of the first projects in this new era has now been completed by architects BKK-3. The large-scale building contains 136 flats designed for a variety of social strata – a strong sign in favour of more diversity in the city.
Community housing in Hafencity
A residential building with a dark clinker brick façade and balconies in white, the Wohnvielfalt is only a 10-minute walk away from the famous Elbphilharmonie. It has been designed by architects BBK-3 (Vienna/Hamburg) based on their ample experience in social and community housing in Vienna.
A shared basement harbouring a kindergarten, various retail spaces, delivery points and access to the underground car park carries a six-story residential building with 136 flats. A third of the flats are owned by a construction company, while another near-third include price-reduced (€ 11.10/sqm) as well as subsidised flats (€ 6.30/sqm and € 8.50/sqm) and the rest are rented out at market rates.
What is attractive beside the fact that subsidised and price-reduced flats are available is the location of the building within Hafencity: Grasbrookpark with its children’s playground is just outside the door, adjoined by an underground station a few steps away.
The site on which BBK-3 were commissioned to build is 115 metres long and only 33 metres wide. In order to grant all flats equally good exposure to daylight and attractive views, the architects drafted a block-edge construction with three thoroughly placed cuts, transforming the voluminous shape to a differentiated, sculptural building structure that rather accurately reflects the diversity within. All flats are grouped around a courtyard located above the basement and accessible from the street via two open-air flights of stairs.
In addition to a thorough mix of housing offers, the project has been aimed at supporting the formation of a tenant’s community by creating space. The heart of the building is the courtyard located above the basement. Here, tenants can meet, chat and get to know each other. On the same level, a rec room, studios and office spaces that can be rented by the tenants make sure that the semi-public open space is regularly frequented. This ‘communication level’ allows attractive views onto Grasbrookpark just outside the door. A flight of stairs laterally offset from the cut leads to the courtyard from the street. The construction itself is equally sustainable, having received Hafencity’s highest-ranking eco-label, the Gold Standard.
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Photography: Hertha Hurnaus (www.hurnaus.com)