The 2013 competition “Urban Living” called for affordable housing as prototypical point-towers along the Karl-Marx Allee in Berlin. Construction here reconsiders the history of postwar Plattenbau (precast concrete construction for mass social housing.
The proposal is flexible urbanistically adding density where it can be placed within a multitude of Plattenbau neighborhood locations without blocking light and air while providing perimeter balconies, light, ventilation, and views for the structures’ inhabitants. Apartments can easily be configured as open, loft living or in more traditional room layouts.
The construction concept - as with the Smart Material House – is being developed with Mike Schlaich. It embeds steel rods (vertical structural columns) into precast, infra-lightweight panels attached to concrete floor slabs. The low-density, infra-lightweight concrete (now non-load bearing) has a much greater insulation value than the earlier Smart Material scheme for Hamburg. It not only lends fire protection to the steel rods but, by encasing them, also stiffens and thus prevents them from buckling. The wall panels, limited to one type, are stacked in-line, increasing the speed of construction and reducing costs.