A Timber Settlement with a Model Character: Prinz Eugen Park in Munich
Urban Concept: GSP Architekten, Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten
Munich is traditionally associated with stucco architecture. Like almost nowhere else in Germany, it is home to ornate burgher houses with elaborate moulding and plastering on their façades. Following this tradition, newly built districts were until recently required to have mineral-based façades, although these often did not conceal any massive wall constructions.
With the “model ecological settlement” in Prinz Eugen Park, the Bavarian metropolis now dares to break into a new era. With around 560 living units, the complex will occupy nearly a third of the newly built quarter, which is to be created by 2021 on former barracks grounds measuring around 30 hectares. Most of the buildings in the model settlement display the building material of which they consist on their façades as well.
Investor groups and housing associations expressing interest in the lots had to have their concepts evaluated according to ecological and social criteria. These included upper limits for per-capita living space, social programs for residents, protection for biological diversity and, above all, buildings erected using wood or wood-hybrid products. The decisive factor was the number of renewable resources used in construction; the city defined three levels of quality for which the building companies received public subsidies in various corresponding sums. Depending on the quality level and building type, the required amount of wood or other plant-based building materials varies from 50 to 120 kg for every square metre of living space. The actual amount used in construction was significantly greater: up to 280 kg/m2. This was also lucrative, for the municipality paid €2 of subsidy funds for every kilogram, adding up to an average of 8% of the overall building costs.
In order to ensure quality work, all the specialized planners and construction companies came on board, and clients had to present their plans to an independent committee of consultants with expertise in wood-building techniques.
Munich’s wood-building story will continue over the next few years: at the end of June 2020, the city council resolved that around 370 further timber-built apartments are to be erected in the area known as the Creative Quarter, an inner-city industrial wasteland near the Olympia Park.