STEINMETZDEMEYER won the competition for the construction of a housing estate (6 out of 9 buildings) in the Park District, Reimerwee on the Kirchberg Plateau.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT
The present project proposes sober buildings, designed with great systematism and a wide variety of housing types, combining a quality of daily life for the inhabitants with an important repetitiveness of elements, thus corresponding to a quality and economy of construction expected by the S.N.H.B.M.
The developed project aims at balancing several objectives:
1. Achieving the largest possible number of dwellings
2. Maintain a high quality of space for each apartment (layout, orientation, outdoor space, etc.).
3. Achieve the ratios of the types of apartments envisaged by the project owner.
4. Minimize the presence of vertical circulations to devote a maximum of surface area to housing.
5. Serve a maximum number of apartments from a minimum number of stairwells with elevators (economy).
6. Develop the greatest possible variety of situations in order to give an individual identity to each dwelling.
7. Aim for economy of execution through constructive systematics and repetitiveness of elements and plans.
8. To concentrate and superimpose the technical areas in order to form reduced and economic "technical cores".
9. To develop the uniqueness of each housing unit so that all the inhabitants feel privileged.
10. To develop an urban neighbourhood with a warm character where it is good to live together.
Following these principles, the project totals 77 apartments of various sizes and typefaces.
The final ratio corresponds perfectly to the desired one, i.e. the three buildings total 61% two-bedroom apartments, 26% three-bedroom apartments, 9% one-bedroom apartments and 4% four-bedroom apartments.
The four-bedroom apartments all occupy a situation that is favourable for a large family. They are all located on the ground floor to benefit from an outdoor space directly connected to the garden. Two of them are maisonette duplexes.
As desired, the project offers duplex maisonettes. They are spread over the entire first two floors of building 21a. This configuration makes it possible to offer superior quality to the whole in its relationship with Konrad Adenauer Boulevard. The multiple private entrances give the long building a more human dimension. The building interacts with the street, it is not a long, impermeable volume.
The duplexes give more variety to the two-bedroom apartments, which are the most numerous in the program. They are also available as single-storey apartments on current or recessed floors. This makes it possible to respond to the diversity of family models and to give an unexpected originality to an otherwise very common type of apartment.
The upper floors and the recessed floor include apartments on the same level.
Buildings 21b and 21c do not have duplexes. Both benefit from a repetition of the floor plan, except for the recessed floor and a few exceptions for the ground floor layout.
ENTRANCES AND CIRCULATION :
Only two stairwells serve all the apartments in building 21a. Similarly, buildings 21b and 21c each have a single stairwell with a lift. The 2 main entrances to Building A on the Bd Konrad Adenauer have through halls. They allow access to the interior fittings of the block. Bicycles and pushchairs occupy a single room accessible on the ground floor for more flexibility according to the type of inhabitants.
The car park and the cellar areas are directly accessible from these corridors. The car park and laundry rooms are located in the first basement, the technical rooms and cellars in the second.
The accesses to buildings 21b and 21c operate on half levels with a bi-directional lift in order to slightly raise the level of the ground floor apartments while preserving all their privacy. The same advantage is given to the private outdoor spaces of these apartments compared to the surroundings.
All the apartments and houses are accessible to PRMs.
THE ORIENTATION AND LAYOUT OF HOUSING UNITS :
The orientation of all the housing units is taken care of in order to benefit from good sunlight. A maximum number of apartments are bi-oriented, either in the form of crossings or in the preferred form of corner apartments.
In building 21a, only the long façades have a slight curvature. To rationalize, all other walls are arranged parallel or perpendicular to the alignments of buildings 21b and 21c.
This curvature is taken advantage of to further mark the identity of the duplexes by a play of offset on the facade.
Buildings 21b and 21c make it possible to further rationalize by superimposing a maximum number of similar apartments.
All the apartments have a private outdoor space, facing south/south-west/west, directly connected to the living room.
FACADES AND MATERIALS :
The composition of the façades and the construction details give the buildings a materiality on a human scale, an arrangement that responds to the urban context, a quality of construction that ensures the durability of the buildings; all of which guarantees a real character and a positive and lasting image for the neighbourhood.
The duplex base is marked in building 21a. The duplexes themselves stand out individually.
The floors of buildings 21a and 21b have continuous and generous balconies on the best oriented facades to provide profitable shelter for the terraces of the apartments. The openings mark the individuality of the apartments.
Building 21c has the character of an island interior with balconies hung in the main living room bays. It features a basement work that links it to the buildings on the edge of the site, giving the whole a coherent appearance.
We propose a combination of 3 main materials:
- a brick with a light, luminous and warm shade, mainly for buildings 21a and 21b, and a base brick for 21c,
- clear plaster for building 21c,
- fibre cement panels for the recessed floors and punctually for the interior of the loggias/ balconies of 21a and 21b.
The buildings are composed with a minimum of different elements.
The brick is declined in several ways in order to give material to the constructions, to play with filters and transparencies, to play with light, to give character to the project. Duplexes and pedestals have a facing with some bricks in relief. The entrances and adjoining rooms are expressed by the facing in openwork bricks which gives them depth and lets the light through. The upper floors have a smooth facing which is added to form the sides or spandrels of the balconies and terraces to give them a balance of openness and intimacy.
The same uses are present in the base of Building 21c. The more fragile rendering is used only on the upper floors. The balconies are repetitive metal constructions that simply hang from the jambs of the living room bays.
The wood-aluminium windows are equipped with external metal frames including: slat blind boxes, pedestals with integrated rails and thresholds in one piece. The repetitiveness of the window models in the bedrooms and living rooms is designed to save on construction costs and to reduce the number of well thought-out and duplicated details.
LOAD-BEARING STRUCTURE :
The structure is made of reinforced concrete and traditional masonry. An integration of ventilation ducts is possible in the slabs (recommended in slab covering the housing). The facades, the walls of the circulations and the separations of dwellings are load-bearing. All the interior partitions of the apartments are non-load-bearing for optimal flexibility and the possibility of changing the layout over time.
LANDSCAPE CONCEPT :
The established landscaping project is fully respected. Some minor adaptations are made for the positioning of the entrances or the installation of the private outdoor spaces of the ground floor apartments.