Project Name: Carmelite Monastery
Location: Bonn-Putzchen, Germany
Architect: Fisher & Kietzell
Client: Gemeinsam Wohnen Karmelkloster (GWK) GmbH and Co. KG
Completion: 2000 existing building / 2003 new buildings
Usable floor area: 6,864 m² (22,520 ft²)
Existing Monastery – 31 apartments
Town Houses – 16 houses
Apartments – 21 apartments
The existing Carmelite Monastery, dating back to 1706, is located on 6,000 m² (19,600 ft²) of natural landscaping and gardens. The site was reconstructed to house an intergenerational community. The existing monastery was converted into private apartments, and additionally, two separate building types, apartments and town houses, were constructed on the site forming a large park space within the center of the three buildings.
Positive Attributes: Variety living options, multiple flexible use communal spaces designed for all ages, close adjacency options for ease of mobility, universally designed public and private spaces
Negative Attributes: parking only directly accessible from apartments, distance between buildings could make accessibility difficult, exterior circulation exposed to weather conditions
In what ways does this project encourage inter-generational living?
This project encourages inter-generational living by providing many different options for the residents of the community. There are multiple sizes and floor plans in order to provide for different living requirements. The central park space links all the buildings on the site together, and offers amenities to all generations including a playground/play house area for children and a landscaped pond and open area with benches and a walking path. Another feature, located within the courtyard of the existing monastery is the communal gardens. The gardens are divided into different areas to accommodate the diverse needs of the residents.
How does this project demonstrate Universal Design or Barrier-Free living?
This project demonstrates Universal Design by offering units designed specifically to be barrier-free. All the single level apartments within the monastery as well as most of the apartments in the new buildings are Universally Designed. Other elements considered are the close proximity of the units so as to provide additional help to elderly residents if necessary.
What other amenity does the project feature that cater to the residents?
Other more public amenities not mentioned above include a café, communal rooms, a guest room, office spaces for self-employed residents, and private underground parking. The community is also invited to semi-professional recreational activities planned by the residents. They also have a blog where they share community news. More private amenities include private courtyards and roof terraces and semi-private spaces adjacent to the park space.
How does the layout of the buildings enhance the users’ experience?
The layouts of the buildings enhance the users’ experience by offering a wide variety of public and private space. Individually, each unit enhances the users’ experience with modern finishes.
How does the site enhance the project?
The site enhances the project with its campus like approach. Each of the three buildings on the site forms a boundary that frames the central park area. The existing stone walls of the monastery provide a privacy barrier from the public street.
What sustainable measures does this project employ?
Sustainability was only mentioned in terms of ecological means of construction; although, each unit has ample access to sunlight to provide a source of heating and natural lighting. In order to create an environment that is socially sustainable, the community spaces are provided to promote social interaction to strengthen relationships.
What public amenities are within the surrounding context of the project?
As mentioned above there is a café located within the site that is open to the public as well as the community. Other amenities within the surrounding context are a restaurant, a church, and a small convenience store. Otherwise the site is located in an urban residential neighborhood.
Describe the interior, exterior, vertical and horizontal circulation
The exterior circulation consists of paths that connect the buildings together through the central park. The existing building circulation is formed around the central courtyard including adjacent vertical circulation, the circulation of the half story terraced housing include exterior entries along the ground floor, the terraced apartments include interior circulation atriums.
How do existing and created outdoor spaces enhance the design concept of the project?
The existing outdoor monastery courtyard enhances the design concept by providing a semi-private, secondary, yet central community environment. The created outdoor spaces further enhance the project with the central location of the park space acting as a visual and physical connection between all members of the community.
What are the principal materials, assemblies, and structural system?
The principle exterior materials are a combination of stained wood siding, white stucco panels, and concrete paths, and the main interior materials include hardwood floors and painted gypsum wall board (the structural system is not mentioned; although, it can be inferred that the structure is masonry considering the building’s location in Germany).
Describe the entry approach to the building.
The entry approach to the building is either through the private exterior entrances through the high stone wall surrounding the edge of the site, or through the private parking garage. The monastery stands at the very front of the site adjacent to a moderately busy two lane street.
Positive Characteristics: Variety of living spaces (barrier free options), diverse communal spaces; park, community rooms, café, playground,
"Bulletins - Gemeinsames Wohnen Karmelkloster E.V." Gemeinsames Wohnen Karmelkloster EV Bulletins Kommentar. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.
Feddersen, Eckhard, and Insa Lüdtke. Living for the Elderly: A Design Manual. Basel: Boston, 2009. Print.
"Von Kietzell Architekten BDA." Von Kietzell Architekten BDA. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2013.