Free Thinking in Green Surroun­dings

Our design is about making connec­tions. It links two buildings with an open common area. It links student life with the green surroun­dings. It links the neigh­bourhood with the park. It links places of retreat with zones of encounter. And it links students with one another.


Task and goal: Living and studying on the park

The city of Passau has one of the highest concen­tra­tions of students in Germany. For these students, the aim is to create additional housing that is flexible and comfor­table. Conse­quently, the objective of the compe­tition is to build a new, 120-unit residential complex for students on the edge of the municipal park Kainzenhof. From a spatial point of view, the living units are divided into singles (30%), doubles (20%) and 3- and 4-person shared apart­ments (50%). Beyond that, suffi­cient parking spaces for cars and bicycles are to be located on site, along with open spaces.

The goal is to develop an econo­mically viable and appro­priate solution reflecting high design standards in terms of both urban planning and archi­tecture. The scheme should reflect the green surroun­dings and facilitate living and learning with a high quality of life adjacent to the green park.


Urban design: Discreetly embedded

The building site is located in a slight hollow on the northern edge of the Kainzenhof park. The site slopes downwards from west to east by about 8 metres. Opposite is residential construction with buildings up to five storeys in height. We respond to this situation by dividing the student dormitory into two struc­tures, gently embedding them in the depression and then also reducing the height of the lower-lying building by one storey. The two buildings thus corre­spond in scale and size to the surrounding struc­tures. Between the buildings, we accen­tuate the entrance condition on the ground floor. Not only is it the first spatial contact point for students and visitors, but it also affords a visual axis and passa­geway between Leonhard-Paminger-Straße and the park.

Studying in Passau

Archi­tecture: Casual unity of individual and collective

Our plan calls for two compact struc­tures linked by a central plinth. Within this base is the entrance area, which is the most public zone of the dormitory complex and also serves as a passa­geway to the barbecue area and park beyond. Here, at the centre, are the communal spaces. This principle is continued on the upper floors: communal spaces are centred to the north and south, while the more private spaces wrap around the outside of the buildings. In this way, the view is unobs­tructed, the connection to the park is a constant given, and wrap-around balconies allow for the enjoyment of fresh air and sunlight. There is a diverse mix of residential typologies on each floor. The apart­ments themselves are planned in a modular fashion, providing for a variety of living arran­ge­ments. The deliberate south/​east/​west orien­tation in both buildings allows for optimal exposure to daylight in the living spaces.


Sustaina­bility: Not just green

The compactness of the struc­tures and the choice of building materials demons­trate a clear commitment to resource conser­vation and sustaina­bility. The roofs are exten­sively greened and thus retain rainwater and cool the surroun­dings through evapo­ration. Furthermore, the diver­sified vegetation on the roofs provides a habitat for a wide variety of species. Solar panels are installed to generate electricity and power the buildings. Paved surfaces in exterior areas – such as visitor parking lots and paths – are created with building materials that allow rainwater to seep into the ground unhin­dered.

Studen­tenwerk Niederbayern/​Oberpfalz
Time Frame
Approx. 4,900 m² GFA
Concept (compe­ti­titon, 2nd prize)


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