WohnSinn: Background and Concept (from WohnSinn website)
This page is a rough translation of some of the concept description on the official website
at WohnSinn, which is all
Although I am a native English speaker my German is not so good, but this section
should give you a flavour of the project. (I realise that some of the English is bad but
do not know what to replace it with !!!)
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Who we are ("Über Uns / wer wir sind")
- "living is more than only a roof over your head!"
- Because we wanted to follow our beliefs of neighbourly and ecological living together in
Darmstadt (just south of Frankfurt, Germany)
we set-up in 1998 the "Genossenschaft WohnSinn"
(lit. "Cooperative Sense of Living").
- Our members would like to live in different living forms with one another - in families, as
singles, in shared flats.
- We currently have no flats available.
- We refer other projects to our "round table" discussions.
Our social goals ("Über Uns / unser Ziele / Unsere sozialen Ziele")
- A socially mixed composition of inhabitants. In addition to older ones and younger ones,
households with low and with higher income, families and students, foreigners and disabled.
- Mutual neighbourhood assistance such as care of children, bulk-buying, etc..
- Assumption of joint tasks, e.g. the administration of the cooperative, shared areas such as children's
area, workshop and hobby area, cafeteria, conservatory, guest room.
- Equal rights for each inhabitant in all decisions, e.g. of the organisation of the building or
the rules of living together in co-operation with social mechanisms.
Our ecological goals ("Über Uns / unser Ziele / Unsere ökologischen Ziele")
- Low energy consumption (passive house building method)
- Use of "healthy" building materials
- Joint use of devices and installations
- Rain water re-use
- Decrease of parking spaces by a car-sharing concept
- Lower land use by virtue of construction as flats
The Building Project ("Project K6 / das Wohnprojekt")
- Our project is in the estate of "Kranichstein K6" on Elizabeth Selbert Strasse
(plan of area).
Building started in December 2002; and we should all have moved in by Autumn 2003.
- The U-shaped three storey block of flats
(plan of building)
with an inner courtyard and 39 flats was designed by
faktor10 PassivhausPlanung and the architect is Petra Grenz.
- The co-operative has sold 25 flats privately as "Dauerwohnrecht"
(lit. "Continuous Right of Residence") to
members. The building of the other 13 flats was financed publicly and are rented to members.
- The project has both opportunities for everyday meetings (entrance hall, common rooms,
walkways, courtyard) and private retreat areas (of the community turned away
terraces, balconies, private gardens) to offer.
- The community areas include: café, multi-functional rooms (for meetings, classes
etc.), common kitchen, workshop, office, WC and disabled WC in collectively used
facilities, conservatory, guest room, care bath and sauna, children's creative area,
washing and drying room, storage areas, shared roof terrace as well as the bicycle
- The dwellings are of various sizes (50 to 130 square meter) and some are single-
storey, some are maisonettes (2-storey flats). In the planning phase an individual
organisation of the room layout is possible.
- All flats will be accessible to all, including wheelchairs and prams.
What is a passive house ? ("Project K6 / das Passivhaus")
- A "passive house" is a building with such a small heating requirement that a separate
heating system becomes redundant. The warmth can be supplied by way of the existing
ventilation system. A passive house makes a very comfortable living possible in the
winter as in the summer. Passive houses are absolutely mould-free and in the summer
- Those suffering from some allergies (e.g. hay fever) can in particular keep the
windows closed in spring, since permanently filtered fresh air is supplied.
- The passive house standard is reached by a very well thermally insulated outer hull,
by triple-glazed windows with thermally insulated framework and a building wide
ventilation system removing stale air from the flats and passing it through a heat
exchanger to recover some of the warmth into the incoming fresh air.
An example of a 5 room maisonette (Flat 16) ("die Wohnungen / Wohnungsbeschreibung")
This 146 square meter maisonette is a corner flat at the southern end of the west
wing. The entrance is on the 2nd floor over the western stairway and/or via the
elevator in the eastern stairwell. The 2 floors of the maisonette are connected by
interior stairs. Also included is a large roof terrace.
Current price calculation ("die Wohnungen / Wohnungsbeschreibung / Wohnungspreis (derzeitige Kostenkalkulation)")
- Flat 16 = 146 square meters, 5 rooms = Euro 246,000
- Includes parking bay (approx. Euro 14,800) and development costs
- Does NOT include the cost of the ground. The site will assign from the city of
Darmstadt on a long-term lease.
- The house price includes use of the following communal areas;
- Inside: multi-functional rooms (e.g. for meetings/courses) [ 32 square meter ], common
kitchen [ 12 square meter ], office [ 6 square meter ], WC and disabled WC, cafe [ 22
square meter ], conservatory [ 36 square meter ], guest room [ 34 square meter ], care
bath and sauna [ 32 square meter ], child creative area [ 29 square meter ], wash and
drying room [ 17 square meter ], storage areas.
- Outside: Community roof terrace [ 68 square meter ], inner courtyard and all areas
around the house, bicycle parking areas.
If you would like to live with us
- If the ideas and planning of WohnSinn appeal to you, then you can get some background
information on how to setup a related project by attending one of our the "round
- For example there is the possibility of further continuing the U-shape to the southern
- The round table develops ideas for it beyond that and. It is open for all, which are
interested in the topic "common living" and would like to bring in and perhaps also
carry out their ideas.
What does WohnSinn cost ?
- Property was assigned by the city of Darmstadt on a "Erbpacht" (lit. "long-term lease").
For the establishment of the building become approx. 1,035 Euro/square meter pure
construction costs result.
- The total cost of each flat depends upon the size, equipment and parking bay purchase
from the city of Darmstadt (approx. 14,500 Euro) and result in between 1.600 - 1,800
Euro/square meter. Included in this cost are all the community areas.
- Rent of the publicly financed flats is at present 4.50 Euro/square meter plus a single
cooperative deposit of 50 Euro/square meter and a certain quantity self-help.
- The 25 dwellings in the "Dauerwohnrecht" (lit. "continuous right of residence") must
be financed by the owners themselves using the usual means (cash, mortgage etc).
- When leaving the cooperative the continuous right of residence can be sold at the
market price. But the cooperative remains only legal owner, i.e. future buyers must
become members of the cooperative.
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