Competition for Affordable Housing "Social - Fast - Good"

Development of a fast-growing, affordable and innovative housing construction – prize winners in both categories "row house / semi-detached house" and "multi-family house" – 1st prize

Construction Forum Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the chamber of Architects Rhineland-Palatinate

Details about the creative design
The developed design concept is governed by the principle of simple, good and communal living. This applies to apartment, terrace and semi-detached typologies. A maximum flexibility in floorplan design and different options for dividing space constitute the requirements for maximum adaptability in orientation, typology and boundary constraints. The architectural design of the different types of living space is not merely subject to cost and time criterion, but rather uses these as tools. The basis of the design is a building component catalogue comprising 10 steps, divided into three sections:

A vertical wall elements = flexible dimensions

B horizontal ceiling system = flexible design

C pre-fabrication of complex elements as a module, including building services engineering = controlled interfaces

The design concept facilitates good and fact construction, in order to meet the steadily increasing needs and requirements of living in this day and age. The digitisation in construction, planning and the manufacturing process all assume a leading role here.

Details about the construction and jointing
The construction is based on a 10-step system for all building typologies. The exterior walls are formed out of cross-laminated timber like vertical, static panels and are pre-fabricated, windows included, in the factory. Interior walls are produced as structurally advantageous, wooden framed constructions in the factory. The ceiling elements are a wood-concrete-composite, cut to size in the factory, with the concrete strengthening taking place on-site. This ceiling system thus fulfils demanding static and constructional requirements and creates a horizontal, static panel.

Increasingly complex building services engineering requirements are addressed in micro-modules (e.g. bathroom and kitchen), completely pre-fabricated, delivered on site “just in time” ready to “plug and play”. They comprise the interfaces for all other connections in each of the apartments.

Focus is placed upon a maximum of pre-fabrication in the factory and maximum flexibility in floorplan possibilities, thereby reducing jointing tolerances to a minimum.

Details about the facade
The facade comprises a timber shell construction and can be selected according to architectural requirements and budget constraints.

Here it is possible to choose from metal cladding, plaster systems, precast concrete components, timber cladding and brick facing.

Details about preventative fire protection
Preventative fire protection complies with the regulatory requirements of the Rhineland-Palatinate 2016 state building code. Building regulation “M-HFHHolzR” for timber construction and the model building code containing the relevant capsule criteria for multi-storey timber apartment constructions are also applicable here.

In the course of the design process, reference was made to pre-existing examples from specialist companies, where it was possible to reduce costs and time by adapting fire protection measures. One example of this is the “assisted living (GK4) with pergola-type, a timber-concrete composite construction without an additional inner fire-protection layer. This was approved and highly rated by the fire department in North Rhine-Westphalia. The REI 60 classification was calculated for „combustion“

Material concept
Timber, a cost-effective material, is considered fundamental in all components of material concept. It is adaptively supplemented with additional materials such as concrete, board-based materials or metal facades. The hybrid-construction – combination of different materials – supports the use of timber as a material with the positive properties of the additionally incorporated materials for maximum results.

Timber is encountering a new lease of life in construction thanks to the new timber construction products. This international trend is particularly popular in Austria, Switzerland, England and Norway.

Energy and resource efficiency
The advantage of hybrid component-manufacturing is the material efficiency when compared with reduction in cost and carbon emissions. Timber is sustainable, durable and environmentally friendly. As the most forest-rich state in Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate has sufficient amounts of wood at its disposal. The combination with other materials, which is sometimes a requirement, is the key to maximum material efficiency with regard to sustainability, weight and environment. Furthermore, timber is easy to work with and has better transportation options and lower transportation costs when compared to steel and concrete elements. The manufacturing of hybrid construction elements significantly reduces the grey energy in construction and can therefore significantly reduce the balance sheet of energy and resources can be significantly reduced.