D-Cologne Housing Complex

Location: Cologne, Germany
Architect: ASTOC
Project Year: 2012

(Text provided by Inhabitat): Buchheimer Weg is a new social housing complex in Cologne that replaces a dusty and out of date series of row houses. Designed by ASTOC Architects and Planners, the collection of 18 green-toned buildings were constructed with natural lighting, ventilation, open space, comfortable interiors and the community in mind. The project is almost complete, and it will provide 434 brand new apartments of affordable housing and is a good model for similar projects.

GAG Immobilien AG, Cologne contracted ASTOC Architects and Planners to renovate and upgrade the housing complex in Cologne’s Ostheim district. It was decided that both economically and aesthetically, renovating the complex would not be viable, so the firm came up with a new plan. The original 1950s-era ribbon buildings did offer good lessons for the new project, including good lighting, ventilation, and orientation. But any new construction would improve upon public and outdoor spaces as well as safety and efficiency upgrades. ASTOC came up with a new concept with buildings that bend slightly in the middle to further help with good orientation, lighting and ventilation as well as creating more private garden spaces.

Construction on the project began 2007 with the first stage, and the third and final stage will be complete later this year. In total, 18 new buildings were constructed to create 434 affordable apartments in various sizes. Low maintenance materials like a mineral-based plaster coat the buildings and are painted in tones of green that vary throughout the complex. The project also includes a tenants’ café, office spaces that are close by, a three-stream daycare center and a residence hall for disabled persons and those suffering from dementia. The goal of the project was to upgrade inadequate housing and they have succeeded by improving living conditions in a problematic urban district.