All stacked up: Student housing with wooden modules in Hamburg
Photo: Thomas Ebert
The clients' decision to secure the services of a wooden module manufacturer straight after completion of the architectural competition was fundamental to the time- and cost-efficient realisation of the "Woodie" student residence hall in Hamburg.
On direct commissioning by the client, Kaufmann Bausysteme joined with the architects at Sauerbruch Hutton and the structural engineers at Merz Kley to optimise the part of the building where the student apartments are located.
Readjusting the scope of services also played an instrumental role in that responsibility was now assigned to the module manufacturer not only for production of the modules but also for directly associated tasks such as fabrication of pre-cast concrete corridor structures, the production and assembly of all larch wood facades, and roof sealing. This brought about such advantages as fewer and more accurate interfaces and attunement of sub-contractor work to the building's modular character. In the final analysis this led to higher quality, fewer construction flaws, greater speed and thus cost-effective solutions.
The wooden living unit modules were prefabricated complete with inner furnishings, bathroom installations, windows and doors, put into interim storage, wrapped in watertight packaging and trucked 'just in time' to Hamburg, where they were lifted into the correct position by a crane. Interim storage was not intended at the building site due to space constraints. The module factory was able to produce a maximum of four modules a day.
The serial manufacturing of the modules on a sort of production line yielded numerous advantages in terms of faster assembly time and a short construction process. It is also worth mentioning that assembly processes performed in warm conditions on the shop floor are undoubtedly cheaper and faster than at a draughty building site. Of greater importance, however, is the fact that higher quality and precision can be achieved in this way, neither of which would have been possible without the modular construction method.