Self-managed dormitory, education and culture center: the new Collegium Academicum is located on the site of the former US hospital in Heidelberg-Rohrbach. It comprises two previously built buildings and one new house which is made of wood on the basis of an innovative construction design. First tenants will move in by the end of 2021.
The new house, which was designed by architect Hans Drechsler (Dipl. Arch. ETH), fulfils high ecological and aesthetic standards. The architects Drexler Guinand Jauslin specialise in energy efficient construction and have won many awards in this field in international competitions. Resource awareness is an important design consideration both for the construction and future exploitation of the house. That is why we use wood, a renewable resource, almost everywhere as a construction material.
The innovative design offers space for both individuality and community: 46 three-person and four-person apartments are spread over four floors of the wooden house. The upper apartments are connected by a roof garden which is a meeting place located on the roof of the auditorium. All apartments and pathways are designed for accessible living, especially the units on the ground floor. This is also where community areas are located such as a workshop room, auditorium and a multi-purpose room with a kitchen.
Inside the shared apartments, the wall panels are movable and this enables the size of private and common areas to be flexible. At the beginning, when moving in, each room has a size of 14 sq. m. Residents can increase their common area up to 49 sq. m., if they want to, by making their individual rooms smaller. Other layouts are also possible, such as a private core area with adjacent living or working rooms that are separated from the common area by shelves, curtains or similar.
In recognition of its innovative flexible way of living and sustainable construction concept focusing on common space, the project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Construction and obtained € 2.2 million funding under the “Variowohnen” future investment program.
The old administrative building will be given a new life: young people will put up self-made living boxes, and the surrounding building shell will be used for common spaces to get and study together, to do creative work. On the ground floor, several seminar rooms are planned for both internal and external projects. The orientation year in the old building is an important part of our holistic education concept.
The International Building Exhibition, an Excellence Initiative of the German government for urban planning, is active in Heidelberg until 2022 to work on future-oriented solutions for urban planning and social challenges. In 2015, the Collegium Academicum’s initiative was selected by the IBA Heidelberg as an IBA-PROJECT under the motto “Wissen schafft Stadt” (knowledge-based urbanism).
Assisted by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU), the project shall also serve as a real-life model for research on living conditions that save space and offer a high quality of life. The principle of sufficiency (to focus on the essential) is reflected in the experimental living, common space design and rooms for creative work.
You share our vision of a self-managed house community and would like to contribute to its realization?