Programme: 119 apartments + children´s day nursery
Floor area: 9,280 m2
Parking: 400 (bicycles), 74 (cars)
Project team: Nils Lamm
Client: Stadtbau Aschaffenburg GmbH
Gabelsberger Block is a 1920s residential development situated on the south side of Aschaffenburg´s town centre. A project commissioned by the municipal housing association aims to build a new housing development in place of the existing four linear blocks which can no longer be renovated. The design is for a block structure comprising two sections: a U-shaped residential building which precisely follows the line of the street and is only open to the south (apart from two gate-like passageways on the north side); and a children´s day nursery constructed as a free-standing structure. Like other examples of local-authority facilities, for example in Vienna, this day nursery is easily identifiable as a separate functional unit, and it has direct access to the courtyard inside the block. Between the nursery and the residential block are two public access routes which connect the courtyard with the park and children´s playground on the south side of the development. (Dunzerstrasse, which runs across at the point, is to be closed for cars as part of the construction programme, thus further consolidating the link to the park.)
The new Gabelsberger Block responds to its urban context with a range of different building heights: four full storeys on the west side, three on the east. Above these is a set-back top floor with sections carved out at regular intervals which lend sculptural definition to the building volume. Continuing around the entire block, a reddish-orange clinker-brick base storey with horizontal profiling underlines the cohesion and quality of the development. The relief-like articulation is continued in the upper storeys with precisely aligned projecting and recessed sections. Strips of horizontal-format fenestration alternating with clinker sections and columns picked out in grey provide horizontal articulation on the façade. The new block presents attractive residential accommodation with generously sized tenant gardens and loggias. Special care was taken with the design of the courtyard, ensuring a diversity of planting and integrating elements such as a sunbathing lawn, a place to meet and also fruit trees and a bee-friendly area. In line with the ecological emphasis in the design of the open spaces, the traffic concept provides for five times more spaces to park bicycles than cars.