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0082 VRM Salzmagazin II

Köln, 2001, b&k+ Arno Brandlhuber & Martin Kraushaar, Markus Emde, Björn Martenson

The spatial separation of living and working, in functional, modernist urban terms, is no longer in keeping with post-industrial society. The service industry, with its increasingly diverse forms of communication, work environments and personal economic needs, increased the possibility and demand for life-work spaces. A series of typological studies emerged from this context that look at the agency of modular organization in the formation of life-work environments. These studies have been ongoing since the 1990s, independent of any specific commission or context. The trope of combined work and living areas first appeared in Kölner Brett (1997- 2000) with its flexible, lofty units and the Geisselstrasse project (1997-2000). In both cases, the typological exploration began with non-determinate spaces, while the projects that followed pushed the typologies to further limits.

The development of the VierRichtungsModule or Four-Directional Module (4RM) in the Salzmagazin II project (2003) was the first decisive step in the interlacing of living and working areas. Two volumes were stacked perpendicular to each other, resulting in a cross-shaped, hybrid typology which allows a simultaneous east-west and north-south alignment of the ground plan. The concept is based on the supply of different daylighting requirements for different uses. While living is oriented in the east-west direction (low sun), a north-south orientation is ideal for work (no/high sun). This concept was pursued in autonomous units in the 'parasitic' Four-Directional Modules in Berlin (2010). Built from prefabricated building elements, they can be inserted anywhere in the city, where neglected or underused infrastructures such as transformer buildings, kiosks, roof surfaces of prefab buildings, etc., are conveniently available, to provide high architectural quality at a low budget cost.