OBRA Architects shared with us their project Spiral Housing: IBA Hamburg Smart Price Houses, a 3000 m2 residential apartment complex with community outdoor space. See more images and architect’s description after the break.
The Smart Price House: An exhibition of everyday life The project’s mission is to address and satisfy the housing needs and desires of present and future residents of Wilhelmsburg, and we believe that the proper consideration of these aspirations can realize the promise of imaginative and future-building conception worthy the IBA and the City of Hamburg. We feel this objective is not in conflict with the necessarily innovative nature of a project included in the IBA, but, on the contrary, it is because the design aspires to root itself imaginatively on the actual conditions of the life of real people in Wilhelmsburg, whether they reside there already or will move there attracted by the success of the Wilhelmsburg Metrozone reinvention, that a project will become an asset to the IBA and an inspiration and example to people visiting the exhibition.
Bosquets & Passages Committed to the realization of a vision of Wilhelmsburg that considers not only it’s present but also it’s future, the project embraces the idea of a new conception of urban living based on the condition of “houses in the park”, proposing a residential building that can itself define the space between the landscape’s bousquettes, while at the same time being itself a “passage” in the lanscape, as it is pierced and connected through by the pedestrian movement of its residents. The proposed mass of the building is not only split by half, but also staggered in plan, allowing better access to light and air for all apartments. This arrangement defines two courtyards, one in the front as entry, meeting place and bicycle parking space, and one in the back as a “forest of swings” playground facing the park and enjoying a southern exposure. The required paved areas such as driveways and parking spaces are proposed in grass-pavers to include as much green area as possible.
Coiled Neighborhood Road The open spaces of Wilhelmsburg and the densifications that implicitly comes with the proposed development combine to create a vision of a building as a neighborhood street spiraling around itself and creating a common space that harmonizes the vertical and the horizontal to allow both the enjoyment of openness that comes with living in a park and the closeness and intimacy of an urban dwelling. The project aspires to a new synthesis that combines both the pleasure of living amongst verdure and foilage and the convenience and companionship of human proximity and the development of community. This materializes as an organization of the apartments around a gently slopping access ramp that brings all residents to their apartments while doing away with the need for stairs or elevators and also helping the project comply with all the emergency egress requirements as contemplated the inclusion of a stairwell, where it to be considered necessary or desirable for reasons other than code-compliance, it could also be easily accommodated.
The ramp provides a smooth continuity of experience from the public space of the city to the interior of reach apartment (as Frank Lloyd Wright maintained: “the stair separates and the ramp unites”). We envision the ramp will become a uniter of not only space but also people, a place for chance encounters with neighbors, a non-orthagonal playspace for children and a zone for concerted appointments between lovers. At the top of the building, the ascending promenade culminates on a rooftop garden which could be given to the planting of a vegetable orchard to be shared and enjoyed by the residents.
Given the fact that Wilhelmsburg has already developed strong and active community organizations with a unique and distinct style or urban living, the project seeks to give architectural form and function to this reality already present on the island. As another detail consistent with that ideal, we can mention the project proposes on the ground floor a communal space for the use of all the residents. The space is divided in two and separated by a large door. One half is dedicated to youth and anticipates impromptu theatrical and musical performances, dancing parties and homework help workshops. On the other, grownup section, there should be a meeting table and chairs to discuss issues of the building’s management and maintenance but also just friendly talks with friends, knitting classes or soccer match watching parties.