The Westend estate is located in the Berlin Borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. It is planned to replace the existing 212 flats from the 1950s with 600 high-quality flats at affordable rents. At a very early stage, in the two-phase competition procedure with nationally and internationally renowned architectural firms, particular importance was attached to sustainability aspects. The master plan developed by the Copenhagen-based firm of architects Tegnestuen Vandkunsten convinced the jurors with its high standard of urban design coupled with the fact that it retained most of the existing trees as an important contribution to bio-diversity, high quality open spaces and the urban climate.
Platinum – the highest award possible
As part of the DGNB pre-certification process, the project and planning work for the estate was examined in respect of a total of 45 sustainability criteria. This examination involved not only the ecological, technical, economic and socio-cultural quality of the project but the process quality as well. In addition to the master plan, several expert reports about, for example, the innovative supply of power and heating to the estate, sustainable mobility or the attractive design of open spaces formed the basis for the certification process.
The DGNB has now confirmed an attainment level for these sustainability criteria of 83.1%. This means that this new build project has been given a platinum pre-certificate - the highest level possible. “Westend is the largest residential neighbourhood in Berlin with a platinum certificate and one of the first city-centre residential neighbourhoods focussing on the construction of rented housing to be certified by the DGNB anywhere in Germany,” confirmed Rolf Messerschmidt, who accompanied the new build project as a DGNB auditor. “I congratulate Deutsche Wohnen on its far-sighted decision to focus consistently on sustainable building – even in times of considerable pressures on costs.”
Sustainable is also viable
As Klaus Zahn, Head of New Building and Project Development at Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH, points out, “For Deutsche Wohnen, sustainable building makes sense both ecologically and economically.” He goes on to explain, by way of example, that the high energy efficiency standard of the new build will guarantee low heating costs over the long term – even when the price of oil starts to rise again in future. In his view, this means that the planned buildings will retain their value and will remain highly lettable over the long term.
Sustainability is also the key priority when it comes to the new mobility concept for the Westend estate. For example, the paths through the estate leading to the S-Bahn station “Olympiastadion” or to the bus stops have been designed to be shorter and safer for pedestrians. This will make it more attractive to use public transport. In addition, car sharing points are planned in the estate. Finally, the new infrastructure will ensure a significant reduction in the consumption of drinking water and the creation of waste water in the estate in future.
Up to now, information events for tenants, tenant surveys, an on-site office and a dialogue-oriented internet page have ensured the active involvement of residents. These tools will be complemented by further options for participation as the planning process continues.
As the project leader Klaus Zahn puts it, “Overall, the “Stadtquartier Westend” will be a modern, mixed-use residential estate that makes lively neighbourhoods possible.”
For further information, please see www.siedlung-westend.de (German).
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 in total, 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). In addition, Deutsche Wohnen started to build new properties once again in 2014 with a project in Potsdam-Babelsberg. The new build, which consists of 103 flats for rental, will be completed in the spring of 2016.
The German Association for Sustainable Building – DGNB
The DGNB is the central knowledge platform in the area of sustainable building. In order to promote sustainable building, the not-for-profit organisation has developed its DGNB certificate - a certification system in order to evaluate particularly environment-friendly, resource-efficient and economically efficient buildings and estates that have been designed to optimise the comfort of the user. The German Association for Sustainable Building is the market leader in Germany and has around 1,200 member organisations from all areas of the construction and real estate industries. A network of partner organisations in many countries ensures that the certification system can be adapted and applied internationally.