Concept Urban Housing
“A villa in the countryside with a large terrace, in front of you the Baltic Sea, Friedrichstrasse behind you …”. Thus begins Kurt Tucholsky’s 1927 poem, “The Ideal”. While Tucholsky’s ideal of urban life might be unattainable in Berlin, there are cities where it has become a reality. Switch out the Baltic Sea for Lake Zurich or the Mediterranean, and Friedrichstrasse for Bahnhofstrasse or the Rambla, and the architects from Zollhaus in Zurich and La Balma in Barcelona deserve nothing but praise. Admittedly, not everyone would want to live in an industrial hall, or like it when neighbours peek into the bedroom from the access balcony, or enjoy counting thousands of trains passing their flat. But where else in Europe’s major cities is there affordable housing? Where apartment buildings integrate neighbourhood services on the ground floor? Where housing collectives exist in most expensive downtown locations, and neighbours support each other and celebrate together? Frank Kaltenbach
More stories to the current issue
Affordable cooperative living
La Borda in Barcelona by Lacol
Since residents moved into the 28 apartments in 2018, La Borda has won many international awards, including the Zumtobel Group Award 2021.
An annular pedway
Pedestrian Bridge by Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen
The annular pedestrian bridge known as Tondo spans the Leuvensweg in the centre of Brussels.
Affordable living space made of wood
La Balma Cooperative Residential Building by Lacol + Laboqueria
In La Balma cooperative residential building, Lacol have implemented their principles of participation, sustainability and architectural quality in the smallest of spaces.
A podcast accompanying our March edition, Detail 3.2022.
Serpentine lines against a square background
Manhattan’s Little Island
Simon Ng and Paul Westwood of Heatherwick Studio talk about their work on the Little Island project.
Living in a hall
This co-op by Enzmann Fischer tests concepts for communal living groups. The story of one of these groups has been documented on Switzerland’s national TV broadcaster.
Africa and climate change
Tarik Oualalou on the Urban Planning of the Future
Africa is suffering the consequences of climate change - and is also our last chance to test better models of urbanization, says Tarik Oualalou, an architect in Paris and Casablanca.
A green oasis in the back yard
Redensification of a Paris Perimeter Block Development
This building project by Mars Architectes creates additional living space and upgrades the dreary inner courtyard of a four-storey perimeter block development in Paris.
An attraction above the water
Little Island by Thomas Heatherwick
Thomas Heatherwick explains his ideas for designing the Little Island project.