Westgarten / Stefan Forster Architekten

© Jean-Luc Valentin

Architects: Stefan Forster Architekten
Location: , Germany
Project area: 2,352 sqm
Project year: 2002 – 2005
Photographs: Jean-Luc Valentin

© Jean-Luc Valentin

With the exception of an estate built for the city council’s housing association, the “Westgarten” represents Stefan Forster’s first major housing project in his hometown Frankfurt. Among the recently established residential buildings in the capital on the Main River5, the Westgarten has special significance.

© Jean-Luc Valentin

The building’s ground floor covers the complete area of the site, containing a supermarket and three other stores, and thus securing the basic, local retail infrastructure of the new suburb Frankfurt-Westhafen. On the first floor, the building also provides residents with a shared green space – a garden with a water feature – after which the building is named. Furthermore, the Westgarten is exceptional in its appearance. Breaking the rules in a positive way, its strong, cool and distinguished look resembles the noble residences of Mediterranean cities, while also deriving qualities from the concrete, local environment where it is situated.

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There are characteristic parallels to the use of formal elements common in the late 1920s and 1930s. The street-facing façade is covered in clinker bricks, which have been arranged in an uneven profile, thus providing a marvellous play of lights and shadows. Light-coloured ledges emphasize the horizontal nature of the building and create a harmonious contrast to the brown clinker.

© Jean-Luc Valentin

All of Forster’s maxims – urbanity with a clearly defined, public ground floor zone; a geometrically precise, clearly structured “build”; a real spaciousness of the apartments and their shielded, “inverted” balconies – are all perfectly embodied in the Westgarten.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Westgarten / Stefan Forster Architekten" 09 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=94238>

11 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    “Teutonic civil construction”, “Mussolini’s architecture”… Amazing insightful critique in this comments box.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It is actually good urban architecture that respects street life and provides a communal space for the building’s inhabitants at the same time.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Robust response to the city pattern, good presence on the street. The apartment plans look clean and well though out.

    Beautiful brick, well detailed with some great features like the rounded inset brick to the entrance door.

    When I think of German towns and cities, I think of this architecture as it is so different to buildings in the UK. I enjoy it very much – well done to the architects.

    If I were to criticise, I do not much care for the shiny brass (?) door entry panel, but could live with it!

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    From the comments I would suspect that many have not been to Berlin. This looks like most of the new housing there. As one post mentioned, the street level is addressed nicely and so is the landscaping, otherwise fairly common design.

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