In the German city of Heidelberg, student accommodation has received an upgrade. Just in time for the beginning of the winter term, a brand new hall of residence for 265 students was opened on the university campus, Im Neuenheimer Feld. It was built as a cost-efficient modular construction, explains KLH Massivholz.
Rent possibly represents the largest cost factor in a student's monthly budget. Most of the time, reasonably priced accommodation can only be found in the form of derelict flats far away from the university. If one wants to live closer to the campus, overcrowded halls of residence are the last alternative. Extensive demand for places in the halls recently led the students' union of Heidelberg to decide to create more space.
A model comprised of modules
It didn't take long to find a suitable site, but in order to ensure a maximum of sustainability in construction, an EU-wide tender was issued. Architects and building companies had to meet the following requirements: to plan a building in modular construction with building and running costs at a minimum, and the ability to be fully recycled after its intended duration of use of approximately 60 years.
In the end, the German general contractor LiWood won the bid. It planned a total of three five-storey buildings erected from a number of standardised modules. These, naturally, featured first-class heat insulation, solar panel systems and efficient air heat pumps.
Concrete, steel and timber
The individual modules were built using hybrid technology, meaning walls made from KLH's cross-laminated timber and floors executed in reinforced concrete. Each module was designed as an autonomous living unit that, besides a living room with bed, desk and wardrobes, also features a separate bathroom and a small kitchenette.
The modules do not have a ceiling, because, when stacking the next module on top, the upper module's floor becomes the lower's ceiling. This yields a reduction in height which is a requisite for meeting the stringent regulations for timber-based constructions in Germany. However, the double timber walls created when placing the modules next to one another, were intentionally left in the design since they provide a level of noise insulation that could not be better in a students' hall.
When using modular construction methods, the individual elements are usually prefabricated invarious factories and merely lifted into their correct place at the construction site. In the course of this project, however, a field factory in which the individual parts were assembled was erected in an unused area of the building plot to keep transport costs and the environmental footprint at a minimum.
Thus, 158 flats in three buildings were erected in just four months. Each building is intended for a specific student clientèle: one for short-term tenants, one for PhD students and a third for single parents. Everything is well thought out. And well roofed, too.