Baufreunden, a project of office03, is one of the first building-group projects in Köln. The architects, who also live in the project, have aimed for quality in the typology, stacked wide maisonettes with either a garden or a roof terrace. In addition, they have drawn a few smart, simple rules for the facade. With the introduction of two windowtypes there was freedom of choice for residents and a consistent overall facadedesign. The inhabitants have made their own floorplans with or without the help of the architect.
For these architects it was the first time to work for a building-group. Around a hundred evening meetings have been necessary to achieve this convincing result. Now, they ask themselves whether they want to do this type of intense process again, especially if it doesn’t generate more quality and such an intense process is not profitable for the architect. The question is how democratic a process should be to achieve the advantages of building groups: more participation, quality and social cohesion and lower costs.
We will also visit Tübingen, this city has a lot of experience with this phenomenon. We wonder what insights we gain there.