21. Juli 2021
An inclusive concept for more communal life
Exemplary building in Germany: the Passerelle in Tübingen, designed by a+r Architekten, offers a home to people with or without a migration background.
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The Passerelle, a social project for refugees and non-refugees, already received the Tübingen Integration Award in 2019. Now their new building has been recognised yet another time: as one of the 37 selected projects for exemplary building in Germany in the framework of the New Leipzig Charter, which advocates for community-oriented, integrated and sustainable urban development. a+r Architekten, an architectural firm with offices in Stuttgart and Tübingen, designed the building for the Passerelle in Tübingen’s Südstadt district and developed a coherent concept for communal living.
The Passerelle in Tübingen — the new building of the district-based housing, action and health project for refugees and non-refugees in Tübingen’s Südstadt — was recently selected as one of 37 projects that stand for exemplary building in Germany and implement the innovative approaches of the New Leipzig Charter (NLC). The project is supported by the Institut für Gesundheitsförderung und Sozialforschung x-igs e.V. (an association for health promotion and social research) together with volunteers, interested parties and members of a private building cooperative.
“Passerelle” means transition and describes the guiding principle of the initiative: according to the ideas of those responsible for the project, “diverse transitions are to be made possible” in joint activities – carpentry, pottery, gardening and many other pursuits. Educational offers, health promotion, joint festivities and creative workshops, all this takes place in the group rooms of the Tübingen-based initiative and supports people in gaining a foothold in society.
The building on Hechinger Strasse, designed by a+r Architekten, is located directly on the district square and was occupied in autumn 2019. It provides 13 flats with different floor plans and communal project and workshop rooms. Also in 2019, the Passerelle project received the Tübingen Integration Award, which is presented by the City of Tübingen for projects that promote integration and equal opportunities for people with and without a migration background. This was particularly pleasing to the building owners, who wanted affordable housing for both refugees and non-refugees. The proportion of refugees was to be around 80 per cent, and the building was to support the integration process and coexistence.
“In this context, it is important for us to emphasise that we wanted to build with simple and cost-effective materials and at the same time achieve a robust and high-quality building,” says managing director and project manager Walter Fritz. In addition, attention was paid to sufficient noise protection, because the building is located on a busy through road.
a+r Architekten opted for a clear building structure in reinforced concrete skeleton construction and infills with timber frame elements. “The façade has a sophisticated appearance,” comments Walter Fritz.
The inner courtyard, which the residents of the Passerelle use and design together with two other housing projects, serves as a connecting element; a garden is in the planning stage. “All those involved in the project wanted urban life to unfold in this place,” explains the architect.
According to Walter Fritz, the association was also intensively involved in the design of the common rooms. This basic idea of “building in dialogue” is also an essential planning approach of a+r Architekten. In this respect, the architects and clients are in agreement with the core statements of the New Leipzig Charter, which states, among other things, that urban development should be made a matter involving everyone: “Projects and programmes should be developed together with the citizens. This is expressed in the consistent orientation towards the common good and the responsibility of cities in the fields of climate protection and environmental justice.”*
a+r Architekten stand for solid, environmentally compatible and future-oriented architecture with impressive expertise in the field of sustainable building — also in existing building contexts. Founded in 1985 by Professor Gerd Ackermann and Professor Hellmut Raff, the office with branches in Stuttgart and Tübingen has around 100 employees and is today headed by Professor Hellmut Raff, Oliver Braun, Florian Gruner, Alexander Lange and Walter Fritz. a+r Architekten mainly build for public clients, industry and commerce, municipal housing companies and social institutions. The office focuses on appropriate, ecological, functional and the resulting innovative construction methods and has been awarded prestigious prizes for this approach: most recently, DAM Prize 2020, Exemplary Construction Award 2020 by the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects, “best architects 2020” and first place in the Competitionline Ranking 2019/20 as the most successful competition office in German-speaking countries.
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