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Foto: ALGECO/Freier Architekt BDA Jens J. Ternes, Koblenz

Modular homes: A quick solution for more housing

Jan Zimmermann
Jan Zimmermann
Editor of mapolis architecture magazine

Migration and the general demand for affordable housing confront communities with urban development challenges. Adequate solutions are often found in a modular design.


The high increase in the number of new people in Germany in 2015/2016 soon became overwhelming for the communities and meant that they desperately looked for dignified and integrated solutions for accommodation. But it is and has not only been about creating temporary accommodation, but about sustainable medium- and long-term housing perspectives. Modular accommodation offers a flexible solution.

Versatile and efficient

Housing modules, e.g. in a container design, are prefabricated to a great degree and can be produced industrially in large numbers quickly, at low cost and ecologically. Housing containers are extremely mobile and can easily be combined to make bigger buildings when needed, can be added to these and removed again and be reused somewhere else. And the quality of the housing modules is by no means inferior to that of buildings of any other construction.

The portfolio of ALGECO, a company first represented at the EXPO REAL in 2016, shows that modular systems with all their benefits are not only sought after for the accommodation of refugees. “We sell and let, e.g. modular solutions for nursery and other schools, (social) housing, office and administrative buildings, events and trade fairs or shops”, says Harald Suhrcke, Director Marketing & Innovation Center at ALGECO.

Model project “Cubity”

Last year a particularly exciting modular building project was started in Frankfurt/Main under the name “Cubity”: an experimental hall of residence for twelve students and refugee students. It was implemented by NH ProjektStadt, who has been represented regularly at EXPO REAL for years. The 16 by 16 metre AktivPlus building with a polycarbonate facade, developed by the Technical University of Darmstadt, had been built for the Solar Decathlon in Versailles in 2014. Due to its modular design it could be removed completely from there and rebuilt in Frankfurt.

There are two levels of 7.2 square metre cubes as individual retreats including furniture and wet room inside the wooden building. They are positioned round a common area with a kitchen. Thus, the experiment shrinks the private space to a minimum and puts the emphasis on the social space: a sociable life which can certainly be attractive for students for one or two semesters

For professionals who are looking for a “proper home” for a similarly short time, however, the concept of “temporary housing” would probably be a more attractive variant – more information will be found soon on our blog.


More on modular solutions from ALGECO

More on the projects of NH ProjektStadt

More information on “Cubity”

More information on AktivPlus

Modular design” is normally associated with a container or room cell design, in which (sometimes fully equipped) prefabricated room units are combined and assembled to form larger buildings. In more general terms these are designs in which buildings are made in individual segments (modules) in factory conditions and then assembled at the site of the building according to the modular principle.

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