In the center of Erfurt, the Johanniter Unfallhilfe (non-governmental organization that operates in the field of social welfare and emergency medical services) has realized an ensemble of three multigenerational residential buildings known as "Andreasgärten." This development consists of approximately 100 rental apartments offering various living arrangements, a therapy center providing social and medical services, a chapel, and a kindergarten.
The main idea behind the planning was to create a social space that promotes communal living and provides room for diverse living arrangements and social configurations. At the same time, the project stands as a visible symbol of sustainable urban development in Erfurt, featuring its distinctive wooden architecture.
The development area is located directly next to the Zitadelle (Citadel) on Petersberg in Erfurt. The new neighborhood comprises three slender, three-story wooden buildings with surrounding verandas and a semi-public garden planted with fruit trees, large shrubs, and perennials. The buildings are designed as a sequence of interconnected exterior and interior spaces.
The composition of the three slender wooden buildings, each with its distinctive surrounding veranda, encloses a communal, semi-public garden. The entrances to the residential buildings face this inner courtyard, fostering communication among the residents and making the garden between the buildings a social gathering place. The delicate wooden structure of the buildings creates a new space that dynamically relates to the fortress and the urban landscape, completing the fragmented greenbelt around the Zitadelle.
The rental apartments, distributed across the three residential buildings, offer various floor plans to accommodate families, couples, and individuals of all ages. In addition, there are two nursing communities on the ground floors, providing older people who wish to live in a community with a new home. Social and medical services, as well as a multipurpose room, are also available for all residents.
The veranda defines the architectural expression of the three residential buildings and serves as a link between private living spaces and the semi-public courtyard of the multigenerational neighborhood. It also acts as a communication space between the buildings across the courtyard, extending the interior space outward. Most of the apartments have two-sided orientations, facing both the inner courtyard and the surrounding city, with the verandas extending from one building to another. This design allows these apartments to benefit from life in the garden between the buildings while also providing quieter, private areas facing the external landscape.
The facade design of the residential buildings combines the structural logic with a homogenous effect of the framework and wall cladding. The buildings are constructed using a hybrid method, featuring reinforced concrete access cores, masonry on the ground floor, and prefabricated cross- laminated timber walls and visible cross-laminated timber ceilings on the upper floor.
The kindergarten, accommodating 111 children from one year old to school entry age, is housed in a protected, brick former carriage house just below the Zitadelle Petersberg. A wooden extension with an open veranda expands the existing building spatially and serves as an architectural mediator between the new residential buildings in the neighborhood and the existing structure. The kindergarten is designed to be an inclusive facility, adhering to barrier-free principles. The adaptive reuse of the historic building honors both the sustainable approach of the new neighborhood and the history of the location.