Here we keep you up to date about past and current projects. This section is still under construction. Please have a little patience 🙂

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Generative living

Stairlift front building MAN40, 2022  

The task group on living at an old age
This group was founded in 2021 and has been meeting regularly ever since. Since a larger number of tenants have reached older ages, the group first collected data on the average tenant age structure.
Then the structural conditions of all the Luisenstadt buildings were inspected to better understand what architectural changes, i.e., elevators or stair lifts, could safely be put in place.
An inspection of all 21 buildings of the cooperative showed clear support for stair lifts and a decision against the installation of elevators. A survey among all Luisenstadt tenants indicated that 96 percent of those questioned would like to grow old in the cooperative and, during that time, would like to remain in their apartments and buildings. Moreover, 88 percent would be willing to pay a rent increase to cover the costs of installing stair lifts. Additionally, it was suggested to gradually improve accessibility for older tenants or people with disabilities.

Based on the survey, the task group developed the following recommendations:

Elevators are not recommended
Only in a few buildings could an elevator be installed safely from a structural point of view. With estimated costs of 300,000 euros per elevator and the expected high operating costs, an elevator is not considered a financially viable solution. We recommend stair lifts, which currently cost 30,000 euros, as an appropriate solution for barrier-free living in old age.

Recommendation to establish a Special Fund
We recommend setting up a small special fund to cover short-term improvements such as additional handrails in the stairwells, structural improvements, and grab bars in bathrooms. More extensive improvements would have to be covered by the tenants’ care insurance. Contact persons would be the supervisory boards of the respective buildings. Those board members would then, in turn, reach out to the office.

Recommendations concerning apartment exchanges
We propose to create a list with relocation requests for members who need to move out of their respective apartments for health reasons (i.e., being wheelchair bound and unable to live in a second or third floor apartment). We hope this measure will open medium-term possibilities for members to move to more conveniently located apartments on the mezzanine or first floor.
If such an apartment becomes available within the cooperative, it should first be offered internally as a swap option for the tenants in need before it is officially listed. The task group will be responsible for drafting a list of swap requests. These requests could easily be registered through the Luise website. Naturally, offers from current tenants to swap their apartments with someone in need are also welcome at any time.

A recommendation for stair lifts
In many of our buildings, stair lifts could be installed long-term, if required. With costs currently at 30,000 euros, this can be well financed by loans (with 10- or 15-year loan terms). The executive board and the task group propose that the house and the cooperative share the costs equally. In the case of single-tenant buildings, half the costs should be distributed among the tenants of the affected staircase. Community houses will handle the payment issue independently. Options for temporary and rare funding opportunities (loans or grants) from the “Investitionsbank Berlin Brandenburg” and the “Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau” as well as grants from the long-term care insurance, will be looked into by the task group before the beginning of the respective stair lift installation. The exchange of apartments takes priority over the installation of stair lifts.
Furthermore, the working group has compiled a small list with information about relief measures for the elderly and handicapped, nursing homes in Kreuzberg, and more.

You can reach the task group “Wohnen im Alter” (age-appropriate living) here:

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Ecological pioneer work

The most important ecological components

In 1987, as part of the pilot project “Block 103,” for the first time, 12 buildings were modernized as part of inner-city rental housing. These renovations were made according to new notions of urban ecology and were equipped with numerous ecological systems.

The overall project is composed of the following complex and interlinked ecological building blocks:

Heating and hot water generation are done in two central heating plants with gas-fired condensing boilers. The electricity for these boilers is supplied by a combined heat and power plant and solar generators.

Various installations and individual measures were put in place to save drinking water and further the reuse of rainwater and gray water. We advanced the greening of roofs, facades, and courtyards to better the living environment, microclimate, and air quality and predominantly used environmentally compatible building materials, especially those to improve thermal insulation.

We increased waste reduction through resident information campaigns, consistent waste separation, and composting in backyards and on green roofs. The effectiveness of the green systems depends not only on their technical sophistication but also on the acceptance and behavior of their users, i.e., the tenants. Effective self-management of the buildings contributes immensely to the functioning and optimal use of the overall system. However, despite regular maintenance, the technical systems are getting old. It has now been 25 years. Some systems have already failed. This means that future maintenance and the replacement of individual parts and components must not be neglected or even entirely disregarded. Our mission is to continuously contribute to climate improvement and enhance air quality in our inner-city residential neighborhood.

The most important ecological building blocks

  • Further testing of effective energy systems combined with the parallel operation of solar generators and photovoltaic systems. All those energy sources can be interlinked with energy from heat and power plants and from the municipal grid.
  • Saving energy through consistent thermal insulation and the use of environmentally compatible building materials
  • Facade greening
  • Roof greening
  • Reuse of rainwater and gray water

An energy network with a block heating plant and solar generator

Energy network ecological building Block 103 Manteuffelstraße Mariannenstraße Heinrichplatz

  • The energy network consists of 14 houses, which are interconnected
  • Two CHP units (combined heat and power units) generate electricity and heat through the combustion of gas.
  • The waste heat is used for heating water.

Solar panels are installed on south-facing roofs. The solar generator converts 14–16% of the incident solar energy into electricity. The direct current is converted into three-phase current and fed into the power grid. The area of 240 square meters generates an annual amount of electricity of 14,000 kWh.

With this network of various systems, the energy consumption for heating can be reduced by 44% and that for electricity by 7.5%. SO2 emissions in the area alone have been reduced by about 2 tons annually and CO2 emissions by 140 tons annually. Heating costs were reduced by 30%. (Source: “Urban Planning and Architecture Report 1994”)

Sketch energy network map  
Photovoltaic system ORA  

Utilization of gray water and rainwater

Our original idea was to store gray water and rainwater in a tank in the basement and pre-treat it biologically. The rainwater and gray water are then pumped up and run through the various planters, where they are thereby purified and can be used to water the green areas.

These systems improve dust absorption, sound absorption, water reduction, and an art object all in one.

The vertical swamp we attempted to install has not proven functional and is currently used in the frost-free period for air humidification and greening. Only rainwater is now collected in the tank in the basement and used for watering the horizontal and vertical green areas. A gray water system in the basement provides purification for the gray water.

Vertical Swamp Bauhof  

Facade greening

Advantages of facade greening

  • Binds dust and pollutants
  • Improves thermal insulation
  • Creates a green ambience in backyards and streets.
facade greening MAN 97  

Green roofs

As early as 1983, the first green roofs were built on the roofs of the cooperative buildings at Manteuffelstraße 40/41. Roofs were partially removed and turned into green roof terraces. These roof terraces are a common area and can be used by all residents. The spontaneous vegetation is kept from drying out in summer through an irrigation system fed by rainwater.

Roof terraces are used and maintained by the residents and serve as a substitute for balconies and gardens. The green roof terraces are designed for the common use of all residents. They also have a communicative function within the house. The climatological research, which was commissioned as part of a pilot project, has shown that greening measures in inner-city areas have positive and noticeable effects. They increase air humidity, improve dust binding, reduce temperatures, and provide better conditions for air exchange. On developed attics, the green roof contributes permanently to a pleasant interior climate. The additional cost of a green roof, compared to tile roofing, is about €15–€50 per m2. Considering the longevity of a green roof, these additional costs will amortize quickly. Through the greening of many roof surfaces, the city’s climate could be significantly improved over the long term. (Information from: “Städtebau und Architektur Report 1994”)

Advantages of green roofs
The air we breathe in inner-city areas is heavily polluted by heating emissions and car exhaust. As a rule, there are few green spaces and plants that can clean the air. Green courtyards, facades, and roofs are designed to compensate for this deficit, reduce pollution, improve the microclimate, and increase air humidity. The greening of roofs, facades, and courtyards increases the residential and recreational value of apartments and the residential environment. Within the buildings of our cooperative, there are 11 roof sections with greening, providing a total of 1,232 m2 of green roof area or roof terraces. Of these, 7 are extensive green roofs and 4 are intensive green roofs. The intensive green roofs consist of lawns, perennials, shrubs, and small trees. The diverse plant species need a thick sub-start layer of at least 15cm. The plants need regular maintenance. Extensive greening, on the other hand, needs only a little maintenance. Watering should only be done in midsummer during severe drought periods so that the parched grasses do not become a fire hazard. But even extensive greenery that dried out in midsummer will grow back in the fall. About 230 native wild plants are suitable for roof greening, especially mosses, succulents, bulbous plants, and about 30 different herbs.

Green roofs Bauhof