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The New Wooden Building

Self-managed dormitory, education and culture centre: the new Collegium Academicum is located on the site of the former US hospital in Heidelberg-Rohrbach. It comprises two existing buildings and one new building which is made of wood with an innovative architectural design. First tenants will move in in October 2022.

The new building, which was designed by architect Hans Drechsler (Dipl. Arch. ETH), fulfils high ecological and aesthetic standards. Drexler Guinand Jauslin architects specialise in energy efficient construction and have won many international awards and competitions in this field. Resource awareness is an important design consideration both for the construction and future use of the house. That is why we use wood, a renewable resource, almost everywhere as the construction material.
The innovative design offers space for both individuality and community: 46 three-person and four-person apartments are spread over four floors in the wooden house. A terrace is located on the roof of the auditorium which is connected to the upper floors and serves as a meeting place. All apartments and pathways are designed with accessiblity in mind, especially the units on the ground floor. Also the community spaces are located on the ground floor including a workshop room, the hall and a multi-purpose room with a kitchen.
© DGJ Architects 2018
Inside the shared apartments, some wall panels are movable which makes it possible to flexibly change the dimensions of the private and common areas. When moving in, each room has a size of 14 sq. m. Residents can choose increase their common area up to 49 sq. m. by shrinking their individual rooms. 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.

The exhibition of such a single room took place in the past at various places in Heidelberg, e.g. on the Universitätsplatz. At present, the model is on our property.

In recognition of its innovative flexible way of living and sustainable construction concept focusing on common space, the project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Construction and obtained a grant over € 2.2 million under the “Variowohnen” future investment program.

The International Building Exhibition (IBA), an Excellence Initiative of the German government for urban planning, was active in Heidelberg from 2013 to 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-PROJEKT under the motto “Wissen schafft Stadt” (knowledge-based urbanism). Since then, the IBA is supporting both the new building and the old buildings.

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.

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