By Aleksandar Tepavcevic
This competition proposal does not aim to solve one particular location but to develop a prefabricated systematical solution which could be applicable to many locations. For the exemplary site is chosen Nordwestadt, a large modernist housing estate in Frankfurt. These housing estates were one of the key contributors to post WWII rebuild process in Europe and worldwide. This particular urban development was chosen for 2 reasons. First is low plot ratio which allows densification within existing urban area, and second due to its standardized construction process and use of prefabricated housing prototypes. Although architecture of these housing is standardized and mostly leave no room for creativity, urban design of these estates offer wide variety of choice such as linear, block, meander, or mixed configurations. Proposed concept called “urban mushroom” is based on hexagonal geometry which uses advantages of its geometrical logic and structure and create a chain which can easily handle any geometrical challenge set by the estate in existing urban conditions. One mushroom represent one constructional and functional unit, for eg. studio apartment. Joining more units into a cluster defines not just the size of the apartment but also creates very stable construction grid which can carry an “extra load”. This extra load is created through geometry which allows second skin, used as a balcony or loggia, and acting like a thermal buffer in winter period and offers cross ventilation in summer. The construction of the Kerto Mushroom is made out of Kerto LVL S beams and columns which are filled Kerto Ripa prefab roof slabs. Walls of the unit are dune with Kerto LVL T studs, which transport the load from Kerto Ripa roof construction. Façade is covered with King panel cladding system. Both façade and roof cover are ventilated. Roof are is completely covered with PV cells. In order to be able to sustain a load from extra few stories, existing roof slab was reinforced with Kerto Q LVL Beams which bear the punctual load caused from new add-on pillars. In the urban scenario The “Mushroom construction” offers a reactivation of roof surface which becomes a public space and try to bring vibrant life into these housing estates. The idea, sort of evokes Le Corbusier’s “streets in the sky” which were originally integral piece of modernist housing concept. Public space can be open or enclosed with temporary walls. Variety of geometrical possibilities and already diverse urban configuration of existing housing offer possibility to constantly re-interpret the roof extension and offer numerous solutions always new but still remaining a part of the same “family”. Additional feature provided by geometry is also to prolong the roof extension to the ground level if urban conditions allow. This variety will bring architectural diversity in these districts which are generally perceived as monotonous and with lack of urban quality. The “Urban mushroom” concept might give them second life!