Summer 1995, completion January 1997

C.+H. Krähmer

Neusser Strasse 618-620, Köln-Weidenpesch

Wohn-und Geschäftshaus

Size 16 units, mainly maisonettes, 2 retail/office units



Between city and outskirts

A strong and recognisable form against blur-effect created moving along the building. The architecture doesn't fix a clear standpoint but blurs transitions and emphasizes the in-between.

Neusser Straße - die Faltung der Glasfassade in den Straßenraum hinein erzeugt, ohne den Fluss der Bewegung zu unterbrechen, einen Moment der Erinnerung für den flüchtigen Passanten.

Life & Work

Housingproject with retail/office units Neusser Strasse, Cologne.

In the past the discussion around affordable living space had focussed mostly on the outskirts of the cities. The development of those areas was seen as the only way to achieve quick results due to the massive need for living space. This project was for people who don't feel very comfortable living in suburbia or massive satelite housing estates. But at the same time they rely on cheap living space that is usually only produced on the outskirts under the conditions of social housing. WA-A used their experience in cost-efficient construction methods further into the city to create low-cost housing in an urban context to provide for this demand from young people. The site is situated next to an arterial road in the north of Cologne where trams and cars share the street. The street is made up of closed blocks but at the next junction to the site the urban structure ends. The back of the site had a hetergenous mixture of buildings and uses. These included a car park with a prefabricated supermarket, 60s- and 70s- townhouses, and a small late 19th century ruined barn which is also to be refurbished by Wansleben Architekten. Building costs around 1400,- DM per sq.m. livingspace made it possible to let the apartments at rents usually only found in social housing. This provedthe strategy to focus only on a part of the market was correct: and despite the clients concerns all the appartments were let before the building was completed.

The principles of the scheme were as follo

  • Size of the apartments complies with sizes in social housing
  • Offering different types of floorplans which provide flexible use of rooms
  • Suitable also for living community
  • Almost every room is connected to an outside space belonging to the apartment (balconies, roof, terrace)
  • Access for handicapped people by creating only minimal hight differences and elevator
  • Avoiding monofunctional acces zones within the apartments
  • Making access spaces social areas suitable for resting

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