0082.2 VRM Hybrid Houses ×

The spatial separation of living and working in functional, modernist terms is no longer in keeping. Phenomena such as digitalization, growing mobility, and the increasing flexibility of living spaces make the division between living and working obsolete. The post-industrial society requires new spaces that enable the coexistence and cooperation of different users and uses. A series of typological studies emerged from this observation that look at the agency of modular organization in the formation of live-work environments. These studies have been ongoing since the 1990s, independent of any specific commission or context. The trope of the combination of working and living areas first appeared in the 0019 Kölner Brett with its flexible, lofty units and in the 0021 Geisselstrasse project. In both cases the typological exploration began with non-determinate spaces, while the projects that followed push the typologies to further limits. Read more

VRM Hybrid Houses, the proposal for the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg (IBA Hamburg) in 2013, is an example for one of the first unrealized projects where the Four-Directional Module (VierRichtungsModul) was applied, a scheme which aims at interlacing living and working areas: two volumes are stacked perpendicular to each other, resulting in a cross-shaped, hybrid typology which allows a simultaneous east-west and north-south alignment of the ground plan. The concept is based on the supply of different daylighting requirements for different uses. While living is favorable in the east-west direction (low sun), a north-south orientation is ideal for work (no or high sun). The three-dimensional stacking of the units creates two blocks with twelve maisonettes. An external circulation system, as already tested in the 1990s with the Kölner Brett, allows a stringent implementation of the modular system.
In order to achieve greater variability of the floor plan sizes and to differentiate connection options, there are more north-south units in the northern block, which can be optimally added to the neighboring modules. Where the two modules overlap, they are connected via an air space with open staircase to form a multi-story unit. The two-story air space not only serves for access, but also offers a representative area, which in the “outside” version in combination with the floor-to-ceiling glazing at the ends of the modules guarantees a deep daylight incidence and in the “inside” version avoids poorly lit central zones. In order to achieve better lighting of the central zone, which mainly accommodates secondary rooms, amorphous perforations have been inserted into the outer facade in these areas and ensure demand-oriented lighting of the interior rooms. These openings, which look like fractures, underline the raw, process-like character of the building: future users are offered options that invite individual interpretations and creative transformations of living and working. Read less

living, working
Brandlhuber+ NiehüserS, Emde, Burlon
Silvia Farris, Tobias Hönig

© Brandlhuber+ Team

© Brandlhuber+ Team

© bloomimages Berlin GmbH

© Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon