How Munich’s surrounding area wants to create affordable housing

Excellent new construction

This residential complex in Garmisch Partenkirchen stands for the change in the metropolitan region as the winner of the Prize for Building Culture.

(Photo: BBDarch Architects)

Dusseldorf There is hardly any lack of striking buildings in the municipality of Bad Aibling. Be it the radar balls, reminiscent of gigantic balloons, with which the Federal Intelligence Service intercepts. Or the domes of the thermal baths surrounded by greenery. But the future of living looks simpler right away. Only the round arches of the three buildings in the Mietraching district and the different shades of gray of the facades attract attention.

They are research houses of the Technical University of Rosenheim. In them, floor plans and materials are tested in order to create affordable living space. This is urgently needed in the region around Munich, which stretches from the district of Eichstätt in the north to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south with 33 districts and more than six million inhabitants.

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The success of the Bavarian capital and its environs has been attracting people for years, but at the same time real estate prices are among the highest in Germany. Wolfgang Wittmann is chairman of the Munich metropolitan region association and is concerned about the prosperity: “We have to design the functional space in such a way that the region remains competitive.” infrastructure grows with it.

The focus of the interest group’s work is therefore on housing construction, but also on modern forms of work. A prize for building culture is awarded to properties that, among other things, offer districts with a high quality of life for all sections of the population. On the other hand, the association supports communities and companies that promote flexible working. This also means new ways of working, as participants at the “Real Estate Dialogue in the Munich Metropolitan Region” event discussed last week.

Project Simply Building: Less technology, the same comfort

Anna Niemann is a professor for design, timber construction and building theory at the Technical University of Rosenheim. It is part of the research project Simply Building at the TH Rosenheim, to which the houses in Bad Aibling belong. The aim is to simplify the buildings. There is a simple reason for this: human behavior. Many modern buildings use technology to combine good indoor climate and energy efficiency.

Living room



is the ideal floor height for affordable living according to the findings of the Technical University of Rosenheim.

“On paper, the numbers are theoretically good. In practice, however, the residents often do not behave in such a way that the desired result is achieved,” says Niemann. In addition, necessary ventilation would have to be maintained, for example, and it was not clear whether the necessary spare parts would still be available in three decades.

That is why the Simply Building project is pursuing an opposite approach: dispensing with technology and concentrating on methods and building practices that have in part been known for a long time. As a result, Niemann determined, among other things, an ideal storey height. It is about 3.10 meters high. This would give the opportunity to use scarce space in height and to ensure both light and a good indoor climate with appropriately sized windows. This allows affordable housing to be built in a high quality, even on smaller floor plans.

Coworking in the provinces: BASF spin-off focuses on Bavaria

On the other side of the equation for a prosperous metropolitan region, Wolfgang Wittmann relies on office concepts that are currently not very common in Germany: co-working spaces. They take into account the recent development of New Work and above all the increased proportion of home office. So far, co-working spaces rented by young self-employed people have mainly been in big cities, but now employees of various companies in smaller communities are supposed to use them.

The concept of the provider 1000 Satellites from Mannheim is aimed at companies and their permanent employees who work in medium-sized and small towns and are located around the Bavarian capital. The BASF spin-off is already active in the Rhine-Neckar region.

Gregory von Abendroth, Managing Director of 1000 Satellites, is now examining, together with the Munich Metropolitan Region Association, whether and which locations from Rosenheim to Ingolstadt are suitable for offering office units there. “This allows employees who cannot work at home all the time, but have a longer commute to work, to be able to concentrate on certain days in the coworking space with full equipment,” says von Abendroth.

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