Real Estate

Germany builds on (and with) wood

In recent years, several large timber construction projects have been started in Germany for the first time and the first steps have been taken towards climate-neutral or at least sustainable construction. These are the six largest timber construction projects in Germany.

Timber construction is by no means as widespread as classic construction with steel and concrete – but it is slowly becoming fashionable. Modern timber construction has a number of major advantages: It is climate-neutral, conserves resources, and if the right screws and insulation materials are used, timber houses can also be completely recyclable. In addition, the building material wood is considered “healthy living” and makes real estate appear warmer and friendlier in general.

Completion 2017: The “Woodie” in Hamburg

The first large wooden house project in recent years was ready for occupancy after a planning and construction period of three years in the Hamburg district of Wilhelmsburg: The “Woodie” student residence with a total of 371 fully furnished and furnished residential units won the German wood construction award in the “New Building” category in 2019.

The building was planned by the Berlin architects Sauerbruch Hutton. The specialty: It is not just a wooden building, but was also built from finished residential modules – which is why the actual construction time was significantly shorter than the planning time. “Woodie” stands on a plot of around 4,000 square meters.

Completion 2019: The “Skaio” hybrid building in Heilbronn

Two years after the “Woodie” in Hamburg, the “Skaio” was completed in Heilbronn. It is a hybrid building made of wood and reinforced concrete – the latter is mainly found in the stairwell and the basement. There are a total of 60 residential units, as well as a few commercial units on the ground floor, as well as a communal roof terrace for all residents.

The “Skaio” was designed by the architects Kaden + Lager, whose architects are also involved in other large-scale projects – including the wooden hotel building “The Woods” in a Swiss ski area. At 34 meters high, “Skaio” is currently (still) the largest timber structure in Germany and the winner of the German sustainability award for architecture.

Completion in the second half of 2022: “The Cradle” in Düsseldorf under construction

“The Cradle” in Düsseldorf is to be completed in the second half of 2022 and a wood hybrid will also be. The client is the company INTERBODEN and the planning was commissioned by the architectural office HPP Architects, who attach great importance to resource-saving construction in this project: “The Cradle” consists largely of removable modules and is therefore highly recyclable.

In construction, according to the architecture office responsible, innovation, natural resources and profit orientation are combined and care is taken to ensure that the environmentally friendly construction method is also profitable. The building has around 7,200 square meters of space for offices and restaurants.

Ready for occupancy in 2023: “Roots” in Hamburg’s HafenCity

Also in the future is the date of completion of the 65-meter-high Hamburg high-rise “Roots”. The building with its 181 residential units on 19 floors will even tower above the “Skaio” and the residents of the building in HafenCity will have a concierge service, a lobby, sports facilities, an inner courtyard and their own car sharing parking lot in the underground car park.

The builder is Garbe Immobilien-Projekte GmbH, the architectural office responsible is Störmer Murphy and Partners.

Completion 2023: Major project “Carl” in Pforzheim

In Pforzheim in the Black Forest, the major project “Carl” is to be built by 2023: The project includes several hybrid buildings that create space for a total of 73 residential units and a kindergarten with capacities for around 100 children. There will also be a community garden for all residents on the plot of 5,000 square meters.

The architect is Peter W. Schmidt, and the client is the Arlinger building cooperative. The special thing about the buildings is that most of the wooden elements are made from local Black Forest wood – meaning that attention is not only paid to sustainable materials, but also to regional cultivation. The architect calculates the sustainability on his website: the entire amount of wood required grows within Germany in just five minutes. Where it is necessary for fire protection reasons, however, conventional reinforced concrete is used, says Schmidt on his website.

Ready for occupancy from 2027: The “Schumacher Quarter” at the old Tegel Airport in Berlin

On the site of Tegel Airport in Berlin, which has been closed since the end of 2020, civil engineering work for an entire wooden quarter is to begin in 2022. More than 5,000 climate-neutral apartments are to be built here – which not only members of the rich upper class can afford: The aim is to use modern timber construction technology to avoid up to 25 percent of the construction costs of a solid reinforced concrete structure.

The plans for this utopian but still tangible quarter come from Tegel Projekt GmbH, and the first apartments should be available from 2027. The construction will not be fully completed until 2030.

Of course there are such projects not only in Germany, but also everywhere else in the world. The most impressive timber construction projects include the “HoHo” in Vienna, the “Canada Earth Tower” in Vancouver and the “Plyscraper W350” in Tokyo.

Image sources: Christian Delbert /


Related Articles

Back to top button