Alternative housing delivery: Baugruppen

What is Baugruppen?

Permeable solitary blocks through to the River Spree create public access at Spreefeld. Andrea Kroth, Author provided

The Baugruppen model represents an innovative strategy for constructing new housing. Known in North America as co-housing, Baugruppen or joint-venture buildings in Germany, and l’habitat participatif or participatory housing in France, are resident-led housing design and development.

Baugruppen is an approach to developing housing where private owners collaboratively build affordable multifamily projects. It’s not quite the same as co-housing – some include common spaces and facilities (e.g. gardens, community rooms, roof terraces) but these are not necessarily incorporated. However, like co-housing, baugruppen incorporate a participatory planning process.

Multiple families get together and agree the design that suits everyone – these are usually multi-storey, multi-unit buildings (think apartments) rather than detached or semidetached housing. An alternative form is Baugemeinschaft, a form of cohousing led by an independent consultants-developer, often with an architectural background, have emerged as viable options as more Germans look to become homeowners.

How do baugruppen deliver affordability?

Apartment layouts at Ritter Strasse 50, initiated by ifau and Jesko Fezer with Heide and Von Beckerath, are highly individualised. Andrea Kroth, Author provided

Baugruppen are an affordable approach to housing because they are generally funded without developers (self-financed). Local professionals tell me that groups of individuals working collaboratively and without the developer can save 15 – 20% of housing costs (basically removing the development margin from the construction costs). Leaving owners to complete fitout themselves provides additional cost saving opportunities.

In Wilhelmsburg (Hamburg), we came across two quite different examples of baugruppen.

  1. The first was a mixed development, in partnership with a developer, where the front portion of the development was sold off to private owners and the rear portion owned by partners in the baugruppen.
  2. The second baugruppen development was quite different. Named Smart Price Houses, they were designed as a do-it-yourself development. The basic skeleton structure, staircase access and basic building connections were constructed for the co -owners. The design idea is Le Corbusier’s Dominio House. Individual owners then designed and completed the interior fit-out of their own units.
  3. In Berlin I went to a third baugruppen in Ritterstrasse where 19 households came together to design / build this attractive development. They reputedly saved 20% of construction cost by adopting industrial construction methods (for example, electrical conduit runs surface on walls) and selfmanaging the contract to avoid developer margin.

How Cities are supporting Baugruppen

At Urban Living 01, Abcarius and Burns Architecture Design created an operable facade to get around a ban of balconies. Andrea Kroth, Author provided

City support for baugruppen I met with Stattbau, a multi-disciplinary design practice which has a contract with the City of Berlin to provide facilitation services for those groups interested in participating in baugruppen developments. Similar services are offered in Munich and Hamburg.

This is an innovative and successful way to support groups who want to design and develop their own communities. With a lawyer and business manager on their team, Stattbau lead a robust process which supports groups through the orientation phase, the planning phase, the purchase of land / construction process and the occupation / residence and ongoing maintenance.

Over 8 years, Stattbau has facilitated 160 groups to build baugruppen. It’s fair to say that city governments in Germany have shaped and promoted this practice with policies that support self-organised, collaborative building. Take Tuebingen, for example. By the mid-90s, Tuebingen was beyond affordable for many residents.

The City purchased brownfields vacated by NATO in the southern part of town, and Alternative housing delivery: Baugruppen Page 3 held competitions to sell individual lots to baugruppen with the best concept. Baugruppen were required to allocate the ground floor for non-residential use, and set development to the block periphery with large areas set aside for semi-private courtyards.

Tuebingen’s approach resulted in costs 10-20% lower over typical developer models, with higher levels of diversity and ownership amongst younger families. The City of Hamburg undertakes to encourage and facilitate the development of baugruppen with a special department which has overseen and coordinated the building of 1800 developments over the last decade. Hamburg sets aside nearly 20% of suitable land specifically for baugruppen, and if there is competition for a lot between interested groups, the City looks at various criteria, including viability, concept originality, owner diversity, etc.

This pushes baugruppen in the planning stage to be very innovative –such as predominantly immigrants, or single parent households only. In Freiburg, the city council made a conscience decision that developmental rights in Vauban would be preferentially given to baugruppen over developers. The city and working group felt that prioritizing affordability (through collaboratively-built projects), would make it attractive and feasible financially for families to live there rather than suburbs.

Rather than bidding wars, lots were awarded to parties meeting criteria such as most diverse scheme, most ecologically sound, etc. Freiburg’s city council even provided facilitators to help a baugruppe procure legal and financial representation for their project. In terms of population density–at 5,300 inhabitants over 38 ha –Vauban is denser than over 95% of Seattle, yet it maintains a distinct character and ample open space. Baugruppen would certainly require New Zealanders to adopt a different approach but with the burgeoning interesting in community-led development, the time might be right. With suitable support to ensure success, clearly there are savings to be made. And with participation in design, future owners can choose what they want and how they want to live in a medium density setting.

The original story published here

Network Meeting & Annual General Meeting 2017

You are warmly invited to our 2017 AGM 5.30 Monday 10 July.

VENUE:        Upstairs Room, Pegasus Arms, 14 Oxford Terrace (near the                             hospital). Access is off Tuam St & Oxford Tce (map).
DATE:           Monday, 10 July 2017
TIME:                        5:30 – 7:30pm
We will have a brief AGM and followed by a presentation from Jane Quigley on her recent trip to India –   What can we in the West learn from the ORIGINAL village

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NOMINATIONS FOR VIVA CORE COMMITTEE
In accordance with the ‘Viva Sustainable Urban Village Project’ constitution (section 12.4), nominations for the committee roles of Co-Convenor, Secretary, Treasurer and core committee members are invited.

Please consider being nominated for a position!  Here is a nomination form for you to download, fill in and return to Jane (bjanequigley@gmail.com).  Verbal nominations will also be accept at the AGM.  If you wanted a conversation about any of the core team roles, don’t hesitate to call either Jane (0274 592 371) or Jürg (021 633 130).

VIVA AGM AGENDA

1. Welcome
2. Brief Reports on Progress last year, and Finances
3. Nominations and Elections
4. Membership
5. Conclusion

Here is our constitution for your reference. RSVP to Jane Quigley (bjanequigley@gmail.com) by 4 July 2017 

VIVA Bus Trip and Workshop

Come and join us on 18 June 2017 to visit some potential Viva Sustainable Village sites, and talk about them.

Sunday 18 June 1.15-6.30

We will travel by bus to see two city sites, potential for our sustainable urban village, followed by a workshop & then dinner for those who want to stay.
1.15pm Meet at Pegasus Arms. 14 Oxford Street.
1.30      Bus Leaves to visit two possible sites
4-6.30   At Pegasus Arms for Workshop
6.30      Dinner at Pegasus Arms

Cost for bus trip and Workshop  $20
book by 10 June
RSVP to Jane Quigley 0274 592 371 bjanequigley@gmail.com
All Viva Members and friends welcome!

Site visits: We will be visiting the City Bowling Club in Salisbury Street and another in Bunyan Street Waltham
Workshop: Architect Mitchell Cole has generously offered to create a very initial concept plan for both sites.  We will discuss the financial implications of developing each site, working up a decision whether and for which site we want to make an offer.

Dinner For those staying for dinner please order and pay prior to the bus departing. $23 roasts are available but need to be ordered by Thursday 15 June. Call 366 0600 or email orders@pegasus-arms.co.nz
Drinks & bar food will be available for purchase at anytime.

The Last Year with Viva

VivaLogoWhat better way to share what has happened in the past year, but to share the Viva Chairpersons Report – AGM – June 2016

Chris Freear : It is with much pleasure that we get to share a brief summary of Viva’s activities over the past year.

Viva! was formed 4½ years ago – as a result of the earthquakes, to influence sustainable & community-focused development in the re-build of Christchurch.

Our vision: “To Create Vibrant Urban Villages, Innovative and Inspiring Examples of Sustainable Design and Connected Community”.

During this time: we have learned much, grown the Viva community to ~500 people. People, committed to not merely fixing Christchurch – but rebuilding it, in a way that was better, more connected and resilient than before.

The past year has seen much effort by our membership to advance the Viva vision. We have put proposals for development to several organisations, shared our vision and learnings in many forums including university guest lectures and Ecoshow presentations, visited examples of buildings that are energy efficient, well designed and make use of timber in new and beautiful ways.

Unfortunately we have not yet managed to secure a project site, a quick summary of each of the projects we have worked on:

  • Jasmax/Viva-NorthEntrySalisbury street social housing rebuild, CCC called for EOI from parties interested in reimagining / rebuilding part of this social housing complex. We submitted a detailed plan building strongly on our Breathe experience. After considerable delays, council has put the project on hold for the foreseeable future.
  • Eagles Nest, this was another inner city site that has much potential, we progressed this to a point of having a bulk and location plan. However, the land is presently owned by a family trust and not all the trustees wanted to sell. To complicate things further one of the trustees has since past away and the site is presently seeking approval for a designation change to commercial use.
  • Breathe, during the year, the Breathe Project officially died and was abandon – despite our best efforts in The Press and meeting directly with the CCDU to pressure the ‘powers that be’ to ‘give us a go.’
  • East Frame and Fletcher Living, following on from our exposure in The Press we created an opportunity to pitch to Fletcher Living regarding the Vivafication of the East Frame. This encounter left us in no doubt that Fletchers words are very disconnected from their planned actions and that they are not truly interested in inspiring, innovative connected communities.
  • NBCUV – We continue to act as an umbrella for the New Brighton Coastal Urban Village project which continues to make steady progress.  They have now completed a landscape / bulk and location design with an innovative above ground services approach to make the ‘temporary’ occupation of a site possible (an idea we borrowed for our discussions with Fletcher Living).  They are still working with CCC to try and find a site for this ground breaking approach.

We have also continued to educate and inform discussion about inspiring, innovative connected communities in a number of ways. Including a number of open home visits, public presentations and of course our regular networking meetings. In the coming year we intend to become more involved in helping develop solutions to the nationwide issue of affordable housing.

My personal thanks to everyone for their efforts this year – in particular our beloved Jane, your energy and passion for creating inspiring and connected communities continues to be the source of Viva’s power.

Jane Quigley summary:

  • Land too expensive in city – $3,500 m2
  • Our offer on Pump House was presented and rejected by owner.
  • land is still being sort by CCC; Colliers, Mark O’Louglan of Harcourts;
  • North Brighton Project continues to develop
  • We had a meeting with James Legge architect from Melbourne, creator Nightingale Model and are investigating using his IP on our project.

HUGE THANKS

  • To the generous support from the following professionals:

Karen Overend; Steve wells; Michael Cousens; Hamish Shaw

  • The members of the Viva Core Team.

I am truly grateful for all the work these people do – meeting fortnightly to make progress on behalf of us all. Everyone has their role and their own unique gifts they bring to Viva!

  • And to you people, the Viva! Community

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your on going commitment and belief in the aspirations of Viva! – You are The Viva Project – and together we are making a difference..

 

 

 

 

Innovating in Melbourne Apartments

The Commons, a precursor to the Nightingale apartment projects, is built and occupied. It showed the Melbourne financial model works

The Commons, a precursor to the Nightingale apartment projects, is built and occupied. It showed the Melbourne financial model works

Better, cheaper apartments in Melbourne might provide New Zealand with a model. WILL HARVIE reports in The Press

Architects design, they don’t develop. But in Melbourne a group of architects are getting into the development game and doing it their way, an ethical way.

“We are not trying to squeeze out every last dollar,” says James Legge, a founding director of Six Degrees Architects and a key player in the Nightingale model of sustainable apartment development.

nightingale

The planned Nightingale One apartment project. Could you live here?

“Our cities and their inhabitants deserve beautiful, well-built and well-sized homes designed for real life,” reads the Nightingale website. “At present, the market is not delivering this and as long as the current formula remains profitable, there is no incentive to raise the bar on the status quo.”

The Nightingale social enterprise model starts with about 20 ethical investors. Some of these are architects – mid-career designers who can manage a $100,000 investment, says Legge – but others are sophisticated investors who lean toward doing good with their money….

rooftop garden

The rooftop garden on the precursor project called The Commons.

…It turns out that the model works well with buildings four or five stories high and 20 to 30 units. These buildings are in the “European mode”, Legge says, small enough that all living there will know each other and still having a connection to the street. “It’s not like they’re living in the sky,” he says….

… Purchasers also must participate in Nightingale’s financial model. They’re getting well-designed apartments at low cost but they signed contracts that forbid flipping for a quick buck. Owners must sell to people on the database and they get only the original purchase price, the value of any improvements plus a bump calculated from indexed apartment price rises from the surrounding neighbourhood. “There’s no windfall for the first seller,” Legge says by phone from Melbourne…

James Legge will be speaking at Green Building Council’s Sustainable Housing Summit in Auckland on June 15 and Christchurch on June 17. 

Rosemary reflects: Love their model – engaging people in the process of design, bypassing some of the underlying costs by combining functions, and limiting the way apartments can be on sold to avoide speculation 

Read the whole article here