• Carbon-Based Design

    How can we ensure that the 1,000,000 new homes that are needed in the Netherlands before 2030 exert as little pressure as possible on the already difficult-to-achieve climate targets? Even if all future homes are built according to the current agreements (BENG [nearly energy-neutral building], and 4% emission reduction in the industry), the CO2 budget for construction (under a 1.5-degree warming scenario) will be used in 2026 already.

    As the construction sector, we are currently responsible for 38 % of all greenhouse gas emissions. The problem is definitely gaining momentum in the debate; however, the focus within our professional community seems mainly to be on single methods or materials - whereas the solution lies in an integral approach.

    Carbon-Based Design is this approach. It provides insight into the CO2 cycle and what role the construction sector and the circular construction economy play in it. The focus is on embodied carbon (or material-related emissions during the production and construction process) in residential construction. By gaining insight into the construction process and which parts of it have the most impact on the total emissions, we can adjust our design and development strategy accordingly. The aim is clear: to design and realize buildings with the lowest possible CO2 emissions, or ideally even CO2 storage.

    With a focus on the emissions of production and construction and the ratio of operational and embedded energy, we found solutions for the way from carbon exploitation to carbon sequestration.

    You can download a full-resolution online version of the Carbon-Based Design report here.

    The Netherlands
  • Drymades Promenade

    Strolling in vivid nature!

    Located in between the high mountains and the Ionian Sea in the South of Albania, the new 2 km long Drymades promenade wants to emphasize this duality by creating an impression of being immersed in nature and the greenery while having the beach feeling at the same time. By using organic shapes instead of straight lines, we create a green boulevard with different scenarios, points of view and vibes.

    The division in different zones helps on creating diversity and reflects the varieties and characteristics the area presents. The promenade aims to be an experience in itself with more quiet and natural zones on the side and a vivid part, the hotspot area, in the middle. Here you can find an underground bar which also serves as an elevated plaza or also a pier on the water with different functions on it. The project is unified by common elements, materials and concepts along the promenade such as stone walls, sand-coloured concrete paving and cut out stone or furniture in corten steel.

    One of the key elements of the project is the planting in random dispersion. It serves as shading but also helps at shaping the promenade and giving different scenarios and points of view.

    The kiosks, which are always located in the planters, provide the necessary services needed on the promenade. While the fixed bottom part is made of stone walls, the upper part is made from wood and is thought of as a flexible element that can adapt to the different functions and needs. The biggest kiosk serves as a bar and eating place, the smaller ones as newspaper or ice cream shops, and the smallest ones as public toilets and changing rooms. The roof made of corten steel makes the structure a sustainable one. It is slightly elevated from the main structures to allow the air to pass through and cool the structure underneath. It also collects the rainwater and with the proper inclination, brings it to the planter on the back.

    under construction
  • Bochum Gerthe-West

    Three neighbourhoods for a green network.

    The focus of the spatial image for the inner-city development Bochum Gerthe-West is the connection and interweaving of the existing green spaces. As a starting point for the design, they create a new ecological corridor and open space network. Furthermore, the connections between existing centralities and free spaces are strengthened and supplemented with new sources of inspiration, such as new daycare centres and mobility hubs. Strategically placed, they form bridges between the building structures and natural areas and invite you into the green.

    The design suggests a coherent and lively green sweep that can be experienced and used by residents and residents through small-scale path connections and other open space functions.

    The rich stock of shrubs and trees creates distinctive rooms and atmospheres. Building structures are specifically inserted here. This creates a compact residential area in the northern part that fits into the built urban context. The focus here is on diverse neighbourhood-related open spaces that offer room for communal uses. In the northeast, the green urban landscape is supplemented by four rows of block edge and row house typologies. They define clear settlement edges between the residential area and the landscape and still have strong visual references to the vastness of the adjacent fields. The Green Ring runs between the neighbourhoods, taking up the striking trees and networking the area for non-motorized traffic.

    New typologies are set along with the dense forest structure in the heart of the project area. In the so-called wilderness quarter, residents can experience nature. Open, small-grained and carefree play with the trees, the new buildings create an urban wilderness.

    Key figures
    Area of ​​new development: 19,302 m² (21,769 m² *)
    Gross floor area new development: 60,771m² (68,173m² *)
    Sealed areas total: 59,286 m²
    Total unsealed areas: 63,980 m²
    Approximate number of residential units: 560 (625 *)
    Number of parking spaces in district garages: 557 (668m² *)
    *including optional surfaces

  • ecovillage - Gate to the Garden

    The "Gate to the Garden" building is part of our project ecovillage in Hanover. It is located at the transition between the centre and the Green Ring and forms the interface between the intimate neighbourhood and communal space with a high degree of publicity.

    The L-shaped building consists of two stepped structures, which are accessed and connected via a generously usable arcade. On the one hand, the arcade enables a diverse exchange between the residents and, on the other hand, a very high degree of flexibility in the use of the building. Based on a grid, a wide variety of apartment sizes and forms of living can be offered and the living space can be adapted to future changing needs.

    The main focus in the development of "Gate to the Garden" is residential use. This is supplemented by a shared bicycle and storage room, two laundry rooms, a common room and an experiment room for water use and food cultivation operated by the entire ecovillage with access to the adjacent aquaponics greenhouse.

    Responsible use of building materials makes a significant contribution to the sustainability of the property. As early as the construction of the building, the conservation of natural resources is included through a design that is suitable for recycling. Through the targeted choice of materials and the possibility of a clean separation of the elements used, the amount of waste is reduced and the rate of reuse and recyclability increases. The greatest possible use of the renewable building material wood not only minimizes the CO2 emissions during the construction of the building but also serves as important CO2 storage.

    With the development of our ecovillage project in Hanover, there is a great opportunity to make an important contribution to future-oriented urban development with a balanced triad of social, ecological and economic sustainability. Find out more here.

    in progress
  • Future quarters at Ostpark

    Liveliness makes the city!

    In Paderborn, with the vacancy of the Barker barracks, there is a unique opportunity to create a piece of city that shows solutions to current challenges.

    The green heart, a new open space for Paderborn, forms the central element of the urban planning concept. It complements the local recreation and leisure activities for the entire city, creates points of attraction and brings the residents together. It is also of particular importance for ecological functions such as decentralized, plant-based rainwater management. A total of 18 hectares of green space support the city's biodiversity and climate resilience.

    Strong edges with urban density frame the green centre. They develop the surrounding peripheral areas of the city structurally and functionally. The existing buildings will be converted and integrated into the edges. In doing so, they enrich the neighbourhoods structurally and programmatically.

    A total of three new quarters offer spaces for living, working, meeting and leisure. They complement the neighbouring districts with future-oriented forms of living, learning locations and workplaces. An innovative and resilient energy and heating system make the new quarters climate-positive.

    Mobility is organized sustainably and with as few cars as possible. Therefore, it is connected to today, oriented towards the future, robust and adaptable. The concept serves as a model for future developments in Paderborn. The traffic areas are designed primarily for bicycle and pedestrian traffic; rounded off by a dense public transport network. District garages on the edge of the area guarantee accessibility by car as well, but will gradually become less important in the course of the mobility transition and are accordingly designed to be reusable or easy to dismantle.

  • New Tirana City Hall

    Designing the New City Hall for Tirana offers a unique opportunity to shape the home of the current and future community, and to represent the values of the people of Tirana. The building should introduce a typology that reflects and outlines the features of Tirana as a diverse, inclusive, human and connected European capital. A manifesto for a City Hall 2.0, open to all. The goal is to provide a space for a genuine encounter between civil society, administrators and politicians, to encourage debates.

    The building comprises an efficient ring with offices that surrounds a collective atrium, which is composed of extroverted and interconnected volumes that provide space for a dynamic set of functions for both the city administration and the public. The City Hall is fronted by a civic square, a new public space which is conceived as an open-air community centre that houses many different functions for every type of use and age. Minimized energy consumption, the use of natural and efficient technologies and local renewable energy generation makes the New City Hall the first zero carbon emission building in Albania. The main structural parts of the ring office are made of locally available, sustainable wood, with the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral building even in construction.

  • Klimaquartier Schweinfurt - sufficient, diverse, circular, climate-positive

    What is a Klimaquartier (Climate Quarter) and how do you meet its requirements? With the Klimaquartier in Schweinfurt, we have created a possible answer that is not only about the CO2-neutral operation of the buildings, but also about the energy that has to be used to construct them and the recyclability of the materials. In addition, the focus is on minimizing as well as shifting the mobility of residents away from the car and towards environmental networks. To achieve these goals, the design for the Klimaquartier Schweinfurt follows these development principles:

    - Compact urban planning protects the valuable resource soil and offers plenty of space for self-sufficiency, rainwater management and recreational uses.

    - The large unsealed areas enable lush vegetation, which promotes biodiversity, creates a balanced microclimate and creates atmospherically strong places. This guarantees a diverse, healthy and livable habitat for humans and animals.

    - To promote the local rainwater balance, all of the rainwater on site is seeped away, evaporated or stored in cisterns for watering plants.

    - A diverse mix of uses consisting of living, working, supply and leisure activities creates a lively, "complete" quarter and reduces the need for mobility.

    - The approach of a sufficiency quarter reduces individual possessions (living space, means of transport, consumer goods, etc.) in favour of communal prosperity, and thus conserves the resources of our planet.

    - Sustainable building materials such as wood, clay, straw etc. are used and are installed in a way that they can be broken down according to type.

    - Flexible wood system construction and compact building volumes enable cost-effective construction.

    - In addition to the existing district heating, only renewable energy sources (Photovoltaics on roofs and partially on facades) are used.

    - Made possible by a multimodal mobility offer consisting of cargo bikes, e-bikes, e-cars, bicycle trailers, etc. cars play the least possible importance in the climate quarter.

  • Green Zipper Heidelberg

    The concept for the Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg transforms the former mono-functional military barracks into a multifunctional and identity-creating living environment. The city is being created by the landscape and uses it as a „green zipper", creating a generous connecting space for the inhabitants.

    The design offers the potential to rearrange existing deficits in the monofunctional and structural building and open space structures of the current rows of existing houses from the 1950s, to differentiate them in their design and to program them in many ways. The result is a lively quarter for people and nature with open spaces and buildings made of wood that can be used in a variety of ways. Achieving these goals requires:

    • A differentiation of the open space framework into rooms with their own characters, functions and possible uses for different age and interest groups.

    • the creation of a diverse landscape to promote biodiversity, improve the microclimate and strengthen local material and water cycles. The two green fingers are designed extensively close to nature, have a large number of biodiversity areas, integrate the tree population and take up the existing topography. The areas are not only becoming creatively powerful elements but also serve to balance residents and residents and as a living space for animals.

    • A sensitive transformation of the building stock and urban development accentuation of the community fingers through a variety of structural additions in timber construction.

    • the establishment of open ground floors with a high degree of mixed-use along with the community fingers as well as the creation of a wide range of living space. From a daycare centre to a laundromat and neighbourhood shops for residents, there is also space for commercial use of the Fab-Lab and Maker Space, through to factories, exhibitions and events. The available living space is enriched by other, diverse forms of living (small apartments, cluster apartments, shared apartments, family apartments, old people's living, etc.). At the same time, the character of a quiet residential area at the transitions to the Green Fingers is retained.

    • the further development of the existing stock in favour of the grey energy that has already been used.

    • the focus on future-oriented mobility, ie "mobility as a service" and active locomotion. Well integrated into an environmental network of trams, shuttle buses and district garages along the parkway, low-car mobility is planned within the district, which is geared towards cyclists and those walking.

    in progress
  • ecovillage Hanover

    With the development of the ecovillage in Hanover, there is a great chance to make an important contribution to future-oriented urban development. One of the most specific features of the ecovillage, and its guiding principle, is sufficiency. To possess more by sharing more: a highly flexible approach that, here, is not only preached but also practiced. In addition to a co-working space and several workshops, ecovillage also offers common rooms in the buildings and gardens that belong to and can be used by everyone, and there is even a special guest house for visitors to stay the night.

    The nucleus of the urban design is the lively village square, that is surrounded and framed by the commons. This is the green heart of ecovillage; where water is being managed, food is being produced and the spirit of community is being lived.

    One of the drivers for the development was the ambition to become a CO2-neutral settlement. Everything is built from wood, and the sealing of the surfaces is being minimized as well. Biodiversity is promoted and gray- and rainwater are treated and cleaned with the help of a plant-based sewage treatment system. After being directed into a biotope-like lake, it seeps away and evaporates, or serves the residents to water their gardens.

    The mobility concept also sets high goals with regard to future viability: it focuses entirely on local mobility. (local public transport, as well as pedestrian and bike path traffic). In concrete terms, this means only 0.2 parking spaces per residential unit are provided. In return, however, there are generous areas for bicycles, rental stations, handcarts, etc. A direct connection to the light rail system rounds off this concept.

    The neighbourhoods, which are connected to each other and to the centre by the commons, consist of differently sized clusters. These clusters comprise various building typologies, which in turn provide space for a wide range of apartment forms. This 'democratic' housing mix promotes social integration and creates strong neighbourhoods.

    ecovillage can be regarded as a pioneer in a long-overdue discussion of principles in which frugality is pursued as a philosophy.

    All facts

    500 residential units
    900 inhabitants
    5 hectares total area
    2 hectares of garden land
    3100 m² of commercial space
    2500 m² communal facilities
    Start of construction in 2021
    Completion in 2026
    More information: ecovillage-hannover.de

    in progress
    30539 Hanover
  • New Istropolis

    CITYFÖRSTER and KCAP design a new cultural district for Bratislava, Slovakia. Trnavské mýto will house a state-of-the-art concert and congress venue and the area will be transformed into a modern open neighbourhood including a series of green and public areas.

    Immocap, the owner of Istropolis, has presented its vision of New Istropolis, developed in cooperation with the international architectural studios KCAP and CITYFÖRSTER. The project aims to bring Bratislava a world-class multifunctional cultural and social centre with top-level architecture, creating a long deserved cultural landmark for the Slovakian capital.

    The new multifunctional hall enables Istropolis to meet Bratislava's real needs and leverage the potential of Trnavské mýto, and will foster cultural and congress tourism. New Istropolis offers the capacity to host various events simultaneously, such as acoustic, rock, jazz, pop concerts, numerous events and cultural events, and conferences and congresses of all sizes. The hall will be able to hold three different events simultaneously and have a maximum capacity of 3000 seats and 5000 combined seats for sitting and standing. The unique in-the-round seating configuration brings the audience close to the stage, creating a sense of intimacy and connection with the performers.

    Trnavské mýto is a key location in Bratislava in terms of pedestrian movement, traffic, and potential contribution to urban development. The project aims to bring new life to this important part of the city that has been neglected too long. Besides the world-class cultural venue, there will be a park with promenade, fountains, and cycle paths. Public areas will be accessible to visitors throughout the day, while the square will support and develop community activities such as seasonal markets.

    in progress
    Trnavské mýto 1
    831 04 Bratislava