However, in the mikroLOFT project, one German housing association – Familienheim Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg eG – is showing that low-cost construction does not have to mean ugly buildings. The aim of the prototype from 2014 was achieving rents below 7 euros per square meter. It was developed in close collaboration with an architect and specialist planner. Sebastian Merkle, chairman of the Baden-Württemberg-based association that boasts 4,100 members, explained the requirements for the project as follows: “The apartments should be equipped in an aesthetically attractive way and prove that low-cost construction does not have to look cheap.” They are now getting right down to work.
Making use of savings potential – and at the same time accommodating mobility-impaired tenants
The first mikroLOFT on Rote Gasse in Villingen goes without garages and basements. Instead, it uses ground-level storage rooms and parking. The windows are standard-sized and feature aluminum sliding shutters instead of rolling or hinged shutters. There is no stairwell – this is the savings potential you can see.
These features are combined with finishing touches that have been refined from project to project: the standard floor plans remain unchanged, areas to move around in the apartment are thus used as effectively as possible, level-access showers are installed instead of bathtubs and there is only one services shaft per apartment – regardless of the apartment size. This concept saves one row of bricks per floor which speeds up construction.
In the latest mikroLOFT projects, like in Bad Dürrheim, storage rooms are no longer placed on the ground floor, but instead on each floor. This makes life considerably easier for tenants with limited mobility. Apartments with one to four rooms are built; the most frequently rented type of apartment has three rooms.