As Michael Zahn, CEO of Deutsche Wohnen AG, explained, “The motto of the German Building Developers’ Award is ‘High quality – affordable costs’. It is this objective that we seek to achieve when we develop our holdings. Deutsche Wohnen makes comprehensive and targeted investments in the further development of its holdings and has excellent, know-how with regard to refurbishment and new builds that has grown over many decades. Moreover, we feel a particular responsibility when it comes to the refurbishment of listed buildings.”
Before around 150 guests in the Hotel Pullmann Schweizerhof in Berlin and in the presence of Florian Pronold, the parliamentary permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry for Building, the award was accepted on behalf of the CEO Michael Zahn by Stefan Degen, CEO of Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH (DWCF), and Klaus Zahn, Head of New Builds and Project Development with DWCF. The jury, headed by Jochen König, an architect and member of the BDA, was impressed by the exemplary refurbishment of the ensemble, and particularly praised the fact that Deutsche Wohnen had succeeded in restoring the original character of the estate whilst combining this with an extensive energy-efficient refurbishment.
In 2013 Deutsche Wohnen began to carefully refurbish the historic railway workers’ estate in Elstal in a way that was fair to tenants and in line with the guidelines for listed buildings. Despite the extra requirements and restrictions due to the estate’s listed building status, the buildings were for the most part refurbished in a way that was energy-efficient. This meant that the primary energy consumption and the emissions from the estate were reduced by more than 60%. Additional space was created by converting the attic floor of the buildings. With regard to all building work on the historic railway workers’ estate, Deutsche Wohnen worked closely together with the local office for the conservation of listed buildings. As the owner of approximately 30,000 residential units with listed status – including four of the world famous Berlin Modernist UNESCO estates – Deutsche Wohnen has many years of experience in the refurbishment of listed apartment buildings.
As Stefan Degen pointed out, “With this refurbishment, we are giving an architecturally very valuable estate its old identity back. At the same time, we are creating urgently needed housing just outside of Berlin. The high quality of the architecture of this estate creates added value for our tenants, the district of Wustermark and Deutsche Wohnen. We took over this estate in an extremely bad condition. In close collaboration with our external partners and local tradesmen, we have revived the estate and, in so doing, have created value over the long term.”
The aim of this refurbishment is to transform the listed estate into a lively residential neighbourhood for young and old with a very particular, historical ambience. The high demand for the refurbished flats is proof of the high quality and the particular charm of the estate. It was possible to hold on to all of the existing tenants and to rent out the vacant, refurbished flats within a very short period of time.
Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH, an operating subsidiary of Deutsche Wohnen AG, was responsible for managing the project. The firm of architects, Blumers, was the general planner.
Here you may find a video about the railway workers’ estate in Elstal.
About Deutsche Wohnen
Deutsche Wohnen is one of the leading publicly listed residential property companies in Germany and Europe with a business focus on managing and developing its residential property portfolio. As at 30 September 2015 the portfolio comprised 149,100 units, of which 147,000 were residential and 2,100 commercial. Deutsche Wohnen owns flats in four Berlin Modernist housing estates, which were given UNESCO world cultural heritage status in July 2008: White City, the Horseshoe Estate in Britz, the Carl Legien Estate in Prenzlauer Berg and the Ring Estate (Siemensstadt).