A preview of a new kind of Urban Housing

by Anne-Lise Charroy

“Baugruppen fall somewhere between a communal home and a condo association.”

“"Collectives formed with the intent of building housing — but eliminating the developer in order to keep costs down significantly"”
Kelly McCartney, Baugruppen: Germany's Sustainable Community Housing Model

“But what if individual homebuyers could pool their money together to finance, purchase and construct a building they were going to inhabit? What if you and I could be real estate developers? This is the idea behind Baugruppens.”

“Baugruppen, unlike cohousing, which tends to be a grouping of single family houses often in the burbs, are multi-story, multi-family buildings, located in cities. Many are built to rigorous efficiency standards such as net zero and Passive House.”
David Friedlander, Baugruppen: Urban Housing for the People, by the People

Baugruppe in Prenzlauerberg

                                                                                 Wohnhaus Esmarchstraße

“A group of people comes together to work directly with architects and designers, bypassing developers, to build a shared dwelling that they own collectively (a co-op, basically). Taking developers out of the picture saves money — 25 to 30 percent in Berlin, where baugruppen are common — and opens up space for much more ambitious, innovative, and sustainable architecture. It also fosters cooperation and community among members of the collective.”
I want to live in a baugruppe, By David Roberts

“There are a multitude of advantages for cities – solid taxes bases, affordable housing, increased density, diverse citizenry to name a few.”
Baugruppen: Instant Community (Just Add Water), By Mike Eliason

“Due to the nature of designing and building in a group, BGs allow owners leeway in the direction they’d like their project to go, or what type of structure the building should have. They allow the potential to incorporate highly individualized units, extremely innovative construction methods (prefab, CLTbrettstapel!), uber green buildings (passivhaus!) – all whilst remaining relatively affordable. And, in some cases, it is this experimental nature that brings the cost down.”

“Individual BG owners have access to reduced rates for hitting levels of efficiency. […] For Vauban, there was an efficiency requirement for all projects, and several ended up meeting (or exceeding) Passivhaus. These projects provide a high level of comfort, acoustic privacy, and low operating costs.”
Baugruppen: Innovative Constructs, By Mike Eliason

                                                                                       Vauban's project


"The Baugemeinschaft Sophienallee is a really well done multifamily Passivhaus by Neustadt Architekten, located in Hamburg’s dense borough Eimsbüttel. The 5-story, 16-unit project features a variety of unit sizes, and corresponding diversity in owners (seniors, young families, DINKs, singles), roof terrace, garden and two community rooms.  Construction costs were about $250/sf."
Baugruppen: Innovative Constructs, By Mike Eliason

“The 3xgruen BG is a phenomenal, jaw-dropping game-changing 5-story,13-unit wood building incorporating CLT and prefabricated walls. In terms of sustainability + affordability + density, I’m not sure a better project exists. Construction costs are incredible (about $175/sf gross) – even though the quality is quite high. This low-energy project was envisioned as a prototype, with the form and structure being transferable to other sites, which could result in even lower prices. Common areas include a garden and roof terrace. Truly a stunning urban prototype.”
Baugruppen: Innovative Constructs, By Mike Eliason

Baugemeinschaft Sophienallee

3xgruen Baugruppen