Community catalyst

DGA’s winning concept for providing affordable participative housing under the motto "flexible, fair, common, and responsible"

The goal: In its bid for acquiring a terrain in Berlin Schöneberg, project development company Urban Coop Berlin commissioned DGA to design a building which reflects its values: Flexible, Fair, Collective and Responsible.


Flexible: DGA distinguished between the fixed elements of project (volume, façade, circulation and technical infrastructure) and the flexible elements (everything else). This decision enables complete freedom of the inner plans, which can be adapted according to demand and participation process.


Fair: The 43 flats are 100% barrier-free. In order to allow a wide range of the population to afford living in the project, the construction cost is kept low by simple, efficient and orthogonal planning as well as standardized building elements.


Collective: The design evolves based on continuous input and feedback from the future residents. Each floor has a common room whose use is decided by the residents. The flats are distributed through a single staircase which is the meeting point of the project. Outdoor galleries serve as a circulation space and as shared terraces. The project offers unconventional housing forms such as cluster apartments and apartments which can easily be added or divided.


Responsible: The building –which is set to be built with wooden prefabricated elements- aims at reaching the highest standards of energy efficiency. Grey waters are re-used and compost waste is used for gardening. On a social level, the building offers a much higher percentage of social housing as requested by law, and a common room at the street level functions as a meeting point between the residents and their neighborhood.