Unterrather Straße

Düsseldorf / Germany / 2017

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The Wohnungsgenossenschaft Düsseldorf-Ost is one of the largest and longest-standing cooperative housing associations in Düsseldorf. When in 2012 it decided to demolish one of its 1920s apartment blocks, on Unterrather Straße, it had clear goals: The simple, small apartments from those early years, with their identical layouts, would give way to a new block, with modern one- to five-room apartments with loggias and terraces for different groups of occupants. Residents in the area, however, at first resisted the plan to demolish this old building, with its dark-red clinker brick façade and lively roof landscape, as it had become so much a part of the identity of the district. As a result, it was important for the new building in this established district of Unterrath, in the north of Düsseldorf, to not only sensitively integrate into its urban setting, but also reflect and continue the specific qualities of the 1920s building. The chosen design, by Stefan Forster Architekten, emerged from an expert opinion procedure. In form and use of materials, it is oriented towards the previous building on this site and fits into the local urban situation like a piece of a jigsaw: The architectural design of the curved linear block was retained and extended towards the south by two wings at the rear.
Along Unterrather Straße it follows the curving line of the street, which opens out towards the west to join Klinkeplatz in a small square, a situation which gives rise to the local nickname for the new building: “Klinkebogen” (clinker bend). The long convex curve of the middle section stretches between the lower-height end sections which, oriented towards the height of the neighbouring buildings and decorated with corbie or step gables, accentuate the transition from the denser urban development on Unterrather Straße to the almost village character of the side streets. The dynamism in the façade originates not only from the different height development, but also from the alternation of cantilevered and inset components such as oriel windows and loggias. The sculptural quality of the building volume is continued in details such as the recessed layers of brick, the upright rows of bricks above the windows and the continuous cornices. As a reminder of the white rear façade of the previous building, the wing extending towards the south is rendered and painted in a light colour, and connected to the main building via a narrow clinker-brick base. The U-shape arrangement of the ensemble gives rise to space for a protected and landscaped inner courtyard.

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    The Wohnungsgenossenschaft Düsseldorf-Ost is one of the largest and longest-standing cooperative housing associations in Düsseldorf. When in 2012 it decided to demolish one of its 1920s apartment blocks, on Unterrather Straße, it had clear goals: The simple, small apartments from those early years, with their identical layouts, would give way to a new block, with modern one- to five-room apartments with loggias and terraces for different groups of occupants. Residents in the...

    Project details
    • Year 2017
    • Work finished in 2017
    • Client Wohnungsgenossenschaft Düsseldorf-Ost eG
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Apartments
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