The historical buildings of the Alte Spinnerei in Kolbermoor are protected monuments and have been gently renovated and revitalized over the past years. They now join the repurposed buildings, such as the Quest Forum, loft apartments, and Wohnen am Rosengarten, to create an attractive focal point in the heart of town. To the west, the site is connected to the Spinnereipark, which has been given a new lease of life and now provides a versatile recreational area. The symbiosis of old and new results in a modern complex of sustainable buildings and offers scope for mixed-use residential and business spaces as well as restaurants—a vibrant quarter in which to live and work.
A new urban element on the spinning mill site
The urban planning concept calls for residential use with two building types, comprising five Y-houses—named for their geometric ground plan—and four Conradty buildings. They blend subtly into the slightly undulating topography of the park, a traffic-free area that stretches between the buildings and allows the site to be divided into private and public spaces. The Y-houses and Conradty buildings comprise between four and six stories and are playfully arranged in order of decreasing height toward the east and west. While the Y-houses are integrated into the well-developed structure of the park with its existing stands of trees, the Conradty buildings form the backbone of the design and serve as a barrier screening out the noise coming from Conradtystraße and the railway line to the north.
Building types for optimum residential spaces
The Y-houses were designed as standalone structures to take full advantage of the park’s qualities. The buildings were positioned in a way that preserved the existing trees and created optimum lines of sight to the Alps, the park with its pond, and the historical buildings of the old spinning mill. Comprising five or six stories, the buildings are developed from a solid core that visually dissolves toward the ends of the arms of the Y to dovetail with the landscape thanks to the nuanced arrangement of the balconies. The ground plan ensures that every apartment receives natural light from three sides and offers the maximum possible flexibility for individual design of the layout. As extensions of the residential spaces, the outward-thrusting balconies on each story feature floor-to-ceiling windows, which create additional, private outdoor areas and allow residents to “live in nature.” The bedrooms looking north and east make use of indirect light, while the kitchens and studies face south and west to catch the daytime and evening sun.
Striking facades with site-specific materiality and color
The facades are notable for the striking horizontal bands of the balcony parapets with their open, glazed sections, which alternate with the closed parts of the wooden frontage. This is articulated through freely arranged, square timber-framed windows of different sizes, while the staggered arrangement of the differently angled white parapets of the projecting balconies and terraces gives the buildings a dynamic appearance. The materials, colors, and feel of the special environment are reflected in the perforated facade with its rough-cut, pre-grayed wooden paneling in various earthy brown and silver tones. In the interior, the warm green-and-yellow leaf tones contrast with oak wood, exposed concrete, white plaster, and the white steel railings. The color accent on the floor serves as both a guide and a source of identity and highlights the individuality of each building.
Two of the five Y-houses were erected in the first construction phase. They comply with the KfW 55 standard; the Conradty buildings, with the current EnEV energy efficiency regulations. In 2015, the complex was awarded gold precertification by the DGNB. The project will be realized in four additional construction phases, with completion expected in approx. 2025.
Behnisch Architekten was founded in 1989 and works out of four offices – Stuttgart, Munich, Boston and Los Angeles. The firm enjoys a global reputation for high-quality architecture that integrates environmental responsibility, creativity, and public purpose and produces a rich variety of buildings mainly in Europe and North America. The partners and staff share a vision to push the boundaries of high performance, 21st-century architecture that respects user needs, ecological resources, and local cultures. From the beginning, Behnisch has prioritized the social dimension of architecture and the quality of the urban environment. Its projects respond to the material and spiritual needs of people. In over 30 years, the firm has created a diverse portfolio of projects that is attuned to the culture and climate of place and demonstrates new ways for occupants to inhabit their surroundings.