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Construction of four new solid timber apartment buildings in Elstal

As Stefan Degen, CEO of Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH, explains, “Environmental and climate protection are amongst the major challenges facing the property sector. Right at the planning and construction stages of buildings, a key consideration is the efficient use of available resources and the minimisation of energy consumption.”

Moreover, the DGNB’s certification goes beyond a mere consideration of the status quo. It recognises the sustainable quality of these four new builds across their entire life cycle of 50 years. As Stefan Degen goes on to point out, “Deutsche Wohnen experimented with this type of construction for the first time in Elstal. As well as the economic and ecological quality of these buildings, criteria such as health, comfort, user satisfaction and functionality play a particularly decisive role. So, it is first and foremost our tenants who benefit from this addition to the quality of their living conditions and their quality of life.”

The solid timber apartment buildings, which are modular in design and have been built in the listed railway workers’ estate in Elstal, are exemplary when it comes to sustainability. The basic construction of the three-storey buildings involves pre-fabricated, non-bonded walls of solid timber, and dowellam ceilings. The wall elements consist of vertically and diagonally arranged layers of wood that are fixed firmly together using beechwood dowels. Whilst the wooden finish was retained for the interior of the external walls, the structure and colour of the facades was adapted – in accordance with the requirements of the authority for the protection of historic monuments – to complement the surrounding plaster facades of the existing listed buildings in the estate. At the same time, a modern architectural style was achieved to distinguish these new apartment houses from the surrounding buildings.

Stefan Degen: “Overall, the sustainable construction methods used and the requirements of the authority for the protection of historic monuments combined to create an innovative, architectural solution that shows that timber construction is also possible in a listed building environment.”

The railway workers’ estate, which was built in the 1920s, is listed and was comprehensively refurbished between 2013 and 2017. Back in 2015, Deutsche Wohnen received the German Building Developers’ Award for its responsible management of these architecturally valuable buildings.

In future, Deutsche Wohnen intends to expand its new-build activities significantly. With the acquisition of the Munich-based project developer ISARIA, the company will have at its disposal one of the major German platforms for the sustainable project development of integrated neighbourhoods in metropolitan regions. Deutsche Wohnen is planning to invest a total of more than EUR 3 billion in the construction of new residential, nursing and commercial properties.

Deutsche Wohnen

Deutsche Wohnen is one of the largest publicly listed residential property companies in Germany and Europe with a business focus on managing and developing its portfolio, which consists mainly of residential properties. As at 31 December 2019, the portfolio comprised a total of 164,000 units, of which 161,200 are residential and 2,800 commercial. The company is listed in the Deutsche Börse’s MDAX and is also included in the leading indices EPRA/NAREIT, STOXX Europe 600, GPR 250 and DAX 50 ESG.

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