Germany's first wood hybrid student quarter
with DGNB Platinum certification is being built in Rosenheim

• the CO2 footprint reduced by more than 50 percent compared with conventional construction 
• the project developer aims for DGNB Platinum certification with a holistic sustainable concept

Rosenheim, April 28, 2021. Higher, more spectacular, more conceptual: For decades, project developers around the world have focused primarily on the unique architecture and increasingly differentiated concepts of their new construction projects. Currently, another attribute is moving into the focus of planning: the sustainability of the objects. Driven not least by the “Fridays for Future” movement, the issue has gained momentum in society and politics over the past year and a half. Driven by this zeitgeist, “CampusRO” in Rosenheim, Bavaria, is currently a lighthouse project in wood hybrid construction: One of the first student quarters in the republic made from the renewable raw material. And not only that: The demolition mass of the commercial hall previously standing on the site will be largely rebuilt in CampusRO. These are just two of a large number of criteria that are included in the comprehensive audit conducted by the German Sustainable Building Council - DGNB e.V. Because the project developer CampusRO Projektentwicklungs GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture of ECKPFEILER Immobilien Gruppe GmbH from Pullach near Munich and Rosenheim-based PMA Invest GmbH & Co. KG, plans to have the property awarded the Platinum certificate. This would be a first, as no student quarter in this country has received such certification since the DGNB was founded in 2007.

The land on which CampusRO is being built was purchased in 2015 by Peter Matthias Astner, shareholder of PMA Invest. His goal: He intended to create an innovative neighbourhood for living and learning. Together with the municipality of Rosenheim and a team of students, Astner developed a concept that translates this goal. Since summer 2020, he has now been realising this concept together with the joint venture partner ECKPFEILER.

The completion of the entire building planned by the office ACMS Architects from Wuppertal is scheduled for the beginning of 2022. As early as the coming winter semester, students are to move into the first of a total of 211 apartments that are being built at Marienberger Strasse 39 in the immediate vicinity of Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences. And these apartments will be special not only because of their modern furnishings, designed by the interior design firm brüderl in cooperation with the designer Nils Holger Moormann. The apartments and numerous common areas are special mainly because of their building design.

“The ECKPFEILER Immobilien Gruppe has always been strongly committed to sustainable construction. This starts with the preferential purchase of so-called brownfields, i.e. developed plots of land, and ends with the advance planning of the subsequent demolition of the new building constructed by us. This is because we fundamentally consider the entire life cycle of buildings that we construct. In PMA Invest, we have found a joint venture partner who not only shares this credo, but who also wanted to develop a special quarter for the Rosenheim location. Together with the architects of ACMS thus the idea developed to establish the building in wood hybrid”, explains the Managing Director of ECKPFEILER, Wolfgang Bogner.

Old building material is recycled in the new building

Before the new building could start, the old commercial hall on the approximately 10,000 square meter site was demolished. Instead of removing the rubble and having new materials delivered, the old material was tested for pollutants. It is now being incorporated to a large extent in the new campus. That saves a lot of CO2. This is because the removal of the demolition material, the production of new material and its transportation are partially eliminated. This process also makes more economic sense. “It's rare for a developer to take the step back and use the old building mass for new construction. Because it is much easier to demolish an old building and build the new object from scratch. If only because otherwise the construction planning becomes much more difficult. And: Such an approach is also only possible if the old building is not too heavily polluted”, explains the DGNB Senior Auditor, Hendrik Müller, who is responsible for CampusRO.

High quality wood as supporting structure

In the new building, all upper floors will be built using timber construction. The majority of the load-bearing exterior walls are assembled from prefabricated elements that are delivered to the construction site with windows and vents installed and including the exterior wall formwork. A hybrid construction of glued laminated timber and in-situ concrete provides the necessary stability for the ceilings in all rooms. These, in turn, can be reached via arcades made of precast concrete elements. Inside, load-bearing cross-laminated timber walls are inserted at 6.40-meter intervals and clad with drywall. In addition, there are non-load-bearing drywall interior walls that divide each floor into room axes of 3.20 meters. The wood used comes from Bavarian and Austrian forests. What makes it special: The PEFC certification guarantees sustainable forest management.

Wood hybrid construction, environmentally friendly material, own green electricity

In addition, all building materials such as windows and doors come from product lines certified according to health and environmental protection standards. The combination of wood as a building material and other environmentally friendly materials not only ensures a better CO2 balance than conventionally constructed buildings. The interaction also has an effect on the indoor climate and the feel-good character in the neighbourhood. And: A photovoltaic system installed on the roofs will supply the entire neighbourhood with electricity. Electricity that is not required for the operation of the quarter, including the boarding house, can be purchased by the tenants of the student apartments. As an incentive, they are offered green electricity from their own production at a lower price than the usual local prices. Hendrik Müller: “All of these sustainable building blocks have a positive impact on the life cycle assessment, where we look at a 50-year building life cycle. The wood hybrid construction alone reduces the CO2 footprint by more than 50 percent compared to conventional construction.”

According to Hendrik Müller, the CO2 footprint is one of the most important of around 35 key topics that play a role in the CampusRO certification process. This is because sustainability certification also evaluates and optimizes socio-cultural and technical qualities as well as the location of a building. For example, the quality of stay inside and outside the buildings as well as biodiversity are important.

Living, haring and Networking

“In developing CampusRO, we aimed to look not only at the building lifecycle, but also at student life in its entirety. A high quality of stay in the neighbourhood was therefore very important to us. So there will be plenty of opportunities for networking with each other and the sharing trend will be picked up in many places in the neighbourhood”, says Peter Matthias Astner.

The entire campus is therefore designed in a kind of settlement structure that promotes togetherness. Thus, although CampusRO consists of three modern building complexes, for each of which three to four building sections are planned. But these are connected by a pergola. A six-story boarding house with 40 managed apartments for exchange students and university professors as well as for business travellers and tourists is also being built as a structural highlight. Networking to these is also possible and even desired across many common areas.

The planned single apartments, shared apartments for four people and three-bedroom apartments for families in the individual houses are entered directly from the outside via the pergola and are lit from two sides. The orientation of the one- to five-story buildings is optimised for sunlight. A network of pathways, gardens, and plazas creates interaction areas for residents in the open spaces. A café, a restaurant, a bar and a neighbourhood square complete this offer.

In addition, numerous opportunities for exchange within the buildings are created. Hence, there will be rooftop terraces for everyone, a room with washing machines, dryers and a chic lounge to linger in, a workshop for repairing bicycles, for example, a fitness room, and a conference room with a show kitchen for rent. 

Green areas, nesting boxes and bee nourishing shrubs

However, CampusRO does not only focus on sustainable feel-good character in the living and common areas. Nature is also incorporated on the once sealed area. For this purpose, numerous green areas with lawns, trees and shrubs will be created on the property. Bee nourishing shrubs and nesting boxes for birds are also planned so that animals can settle there and find shelter.

Hendrik Müller: “The totality of measures and services in CampusRO is currently unique for student housing in Germany. Including single-family homes, the DGNB certifies around 5,000 projects per year - around 20 of which are Platinum. A student quarter was never part of it before.” 

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