How do you turn a barracks into a home? MVRDV spells it out

Dutch studio MVRDV has won a large-scale regeneration scheme based on the transformation of a former US army barracks in the Franklin Mitte neighbourhood of Mannheim in southwest Germany. 

The 1,440,000 square metre development will have a mixture of housing types and four brightly coloured residential buildings that spell out the word "HOME" in a diagonal line through the development.

At the centre will be a hill left by the demolishing of a former US army barracks. This will form the centre of the development, complete with shops, restaurants, cafes and community spaces.

MVRDV have designed the ‘M’ and the ‘O’ of "HOME", Stuttgart’s Haas Cook Zemmrich will design the "H" and Albert Speer & Partners will design the "E". 

The 12,000 square metre "O" will contain 120 apartments and the 18,000 square metre "M" will have 185 apartments, with each consisting of differently sized "pixel-type" apartments. The "M" tower will have an activated roof with tennis courts, and the lower levels of the "O" will form a public stage with roofs leading up from the ground level.

This design allows for individual adaptation suited to the needs of residents giving them a more flexible use of space.

Around each HOME structure is a plaza created in the shape of the projected shadow of the letter and smaller white residential buildings. The imprint of the letter cuts through both old and new buildings with MVRDV saying it juxtaposes "the site’s rigid history with these contemporary structures".

The project aims to attract "young local families who are usually leaving the German city due to a lack of an attractive offer". 

The budget of the project has not been disclosed.

Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, said: "How does one form a family of residential towers? In Franklin Mitte, we will create a fine-grained extremely homely and cosy neighbourhood with a central hill that is both a park and shopping centre.

"The HOME towers signal a welcoming suggestion. Especially needed in these days of doubt. Mannheim is an ambitious city with a strong social agenda, the site is currently occupied by 10,000 refugees, I find that impressive and to be honest, quite touching."

Construction will begin in early 2018.

Images courtesy of MVRDV

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  1. I certainly wouldn’t like to live there !

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