Ian Ritchie Architects were invited in April 1992 to a limited international competition to design 150 social housing apartments on the site of a former industrial complex on the edge of Dortmund.
The urban concept provides the opportunity to draw the public through the site whilst creating a secure and enjoyable spatial experience for the residents and their children.
‘Four storey housing’, consisting of two maisonettes above lower ground floor studios and 1/2 bedroom apartments was placed along the northern boundary of the site. All units have access to both private gardens and the communal landscaped areas and the upper maisonettes enjoy a landscaped terrace.The majority of the housing units were conceived as double height spaces which the occupants could add or modify internally responding to their changing needs. Accommodation for the elderly and handicapped was located along the southern boundary of the site. All bedrooms and living areas enjoy generous sunlight which is controlled by sliding timber shutters. The shutters articulate the architecture to create a play of shadow, volume and colour.
The landscape design establishes three primary zones:
– the tree lined vehicular access to the ‘outside’ of the housing
– the private gardens to the ‘inside’ of the housing
– the communal gardens, allotments and communal greenhouse organised around a water channel running throughout the site.
The energy concept includes vacuum tube solar energy collection on the roof, high insulation levels, heat exchangers and a district heating system which runs at roof level through the buildings.
Ian Ritchie Architects, the sole UK participants, collaborating with Schmidt-Reuter, Drees + Sommer and Ateliers 1 + 10 were awarded 3rd prize in the competition.