Köln, 1999-2000, b&k+ Arno Brandlhuber & Bernd Kniess; Jürgen Clarenz, Markus Emde, Viola Jäck, Martin Kraushaar, Björn Martenson, Franka Oelmann, Ralph Röwekamp, Uli Wallner, Peter Weiss; Thomas Jürges / Führer–Kosch–Stein (Tragwerk)
The Stavenhof residential and studio building is located on a narrow lot in the dense historic northern part of Cologne. The area is characterized by a heterogeneous urban fabric due to the small-sized, historic parcelling and post-war construction that condensed the neighborhood’s inner courtyards. The geometric organization of the four-unit building reacts to the 20-metre tall firewall on the southern border of the plot, providing individual, flexible spaces oriented for optimal daylight. The different units connect to the central access core, each developing a unique volume in height and depth. One the one hand, the design of the cubic-sculptural volume results from building codes that regulate distances and setbacks; on the other hand, the varying heights and vertical separations allow each unit to have access to private rooftop gardens. Inside the units, only the bathrooms and kitchens are pre-installed as a basis for an otherwise open floor plan that can be adapted by the users ad-hoc. The hybrid space of the reinforced concrete building is completely covered with grey-blue tiles, a reference to the facades of the neigh- boring buildings. Their near-white tone is based on the average colour of the Cologne sky. These ceramic tiles were developed and produced by a Japanese manufacturer to let a certain amount of humidity pass through an otherwise sealed surface.