Architectural Innovations: 270 x 4 = 360 x 3
The elevations of the building are ruled by simple ordered patterns that direct the weight of the masonry to the ground with a minimum need for beams and steel reinforcement. This elevation is nonetheless not rigid, an expression (in architectural terms) for a „Cosmopolis“, with a multitude of different rhythms flowing through it, not unlike the multiplicity of backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of its anticipated inhabitants, for which it can be seen as a metaphor. The proposed facade design though is not a superficial play of compositional shapes, but rather the true expression of three factors that define the articulation of the building‘s space:
1. Ramped Access
The ramp spirals up at the rate of 2.70 meters per turn, easily complying with German regulations for maximum slope and allowing gentle access to different apartments and defining a continuously harmonious sequence while ascending the height of the building.
2. Variable Section
The entire section of the building is composed of two complementary sequences defined by: [2.70 x 4] = [3.60 x 3]. This allows most of the area of each apartment (bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen) to have a ceiling height of 2.40 meters which is typical in projects of this type, but also allows one room (living room/dining) to contain a more generous 3.30 meters. This combination of heights allows for quality of living while preserving economy of construction.
3. Three different types of window
The apartments are equipped with three (3) different window types, all in height multiples of 20 cm, the size of the masonry block:
—small [1.00 x 1.60] for bedrooms [1 or 2 each]
—medium [1.50 x 2.00] for living rooms [2 each]
—large [1.50 x 2.60] for living rooms [2 each] as French doors to serve as balcony-like space.
This arrangement allows each room to enjoy ventilation, light and views in proportion to its size while avoiding the expense of making all windows of larger size, as well as the loss of quality of living in making them all too small.
In plan, the building is composed of two identical halves that are rotated, displaced and linked by the ramp, thus avoiding the authoritarian connotations of symmetry while still enjoying the economic advantages of building two nearly identical halves. In construction, repetition means savings. The layout of the apartments is also extremely simple and repetitive, but the adjacency of the bedrooms allows configurations of two-room, three-room and four-room apartments without substantial changes to the plan, through the simple device of opening doors on one wall rather than another. This arrangement could even make it possible from one neighbor to buy or purchase a room from another. The possibilities are many, but as shown in this version, the project includes:
2 two-room apartments (1 of them barrier-free)
8 three-room apartments (2 of them barrier-free)
4 four-room apartments (1 of them barrier-free)
This also allows the easy transmission of gravity loads to the ground and the stacking of kitchens and bathrooms for plumbing economy. The arrangement of the plan allows for the creation of 6 parking spaces under the building on the ground floor. This preserves the enjoyment of the beauty of the park by residents and visitors without the cluttered nuisance of a multitude of parked cars.
Besides the already mentioned community space, other facilities on the ground and semi-sunken floor (only one meter below grade and 50 cm above the level of the water table) include the necessary mechanical and storage spaces as required by the Hamburg building code and the engineering systems designed into the project.