HÄFELE: Micro Living in Germany’s First Wooden Skyscraper

Those who live “small” need comfort!

​​​​“More life per square metre” is a topic that Häfele has been working on for a long time: With “SKAIOpartment”, two prototypical model apartments for living in a minimal space have been created in Germany’s first wooden high-rise, “SKAIO”, on the site of the German Federal Horticultural Show in Heilbronn.

In cooperation with the Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH, the builder of SKAIO, the international specialist for hardware technology and electronic access control systems, demonstrates how forward-looking and clever Micro Living can be today. Following the multi-functional interior concept, “Functionality Cube”, the youth hostel room of the future, “Youth Lab”, and the micro-apartment, “MicroApart 20/30”, the two model apartments are another example of innovative living in a small space.

A spacious multi-functional room on the ground floor serves as a “laundrette”, large communal kitchen, and working space. Here, residents can get to know each other and spend time outside their own apartments. Photo: Häfele

At 34 metres high, “SKAIO” is the first and so far only wooden high-rise in Germany. The Berlin architectural office Kaden + Lager was chosen for the structural design of the project. It has been specialising for years in buildings in wood or wood hybrid constructions.

The Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH is the oldest still active housing association in Germany and is known to support, initiate, and promote innovative projects. Like Häfele, the company is increasingly taking socially relevant topics and developing market-driven solutions. The SKAIO project, in the context of the city exhibition Neckarbogen on the site of the Federal Horticultural Show, represents a model for comparable construction tasks in the future.

Living small is very big!

Together with the two architectural offices AAg Loebner Schäfer Weber, Heidelberg, and LAVA, Stuttgart/Berlin, concepts were developed in a workshop series, using different spatial approaches that were based on Häfele’s 360° comprehensive project solutions and fitting solutions.

In the bathroom, the multi-functional bathroom mirror from the Häfele Aquasys product range also offers a demister to prevent fogging, excellent light, and convenient sound via Bluetooth. Photo: Häfele

Finally, Loebner Schäfer Weber were able to implement their ideas in two 1.5- and 2-room apartments and also included the communal areas on the ground floor in their concept: If necessary, the residents of the 60 residential units can extend their living space to the representative foyer with its lounge character.

Vis-à-vis, concealed behind an almost four metres high frosted glass door, which can be moved safely and smoothly with the Slido sliding door fitting from Häfele, there is a large multi-functional room. Here, the residents can get to know each other and spend time together.

The bedroom of the smaller apartment is equipped with a cozy alcove. Here, too, the convenient extension fittings by Häfele are used. Photo: Häfele

In addition, this room serves as a “laundrette”, integrates a large kitchen with dining area for parties and guests, as well as a bar, which can also be used as a working space – for example, to make use of time spent waiting for laundry. “The need for housing for micro-households is increasing.

However, the living space is unable to expand to the usual extent because land resources in the cities are already very scarce and are becoming even scarcer.

From sliding door fittings and drawer sides runner systems, light in furniture to bathroom fittings, different and sophisticated products from the Häfele product range are utilised. Using those solutions, the office in charge, AAg Loebner Schäfer Weber, was able to implement its diverse ideas. Photo: Häfele

That’s why intelligent concepts for micro-apartments are so important”, explains architect Armin Schäfer of AAg. Wolf-Dieter Sprenger, Head of Project Management of the Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH, adds: “With Häfele’s expertise and products, we were able to create exciting solutions here in Heilbronn that offer maximum quality of life in the smallest of spaces.”

Products and services from a single source

From sliding door fittings and drawer sides runner systems, light in furniture to bathroom fittings, different and sophisticated products from the comprehensive Häfele product range are utilised in the two model apartments “SKAIOpartment”.

“SKAIO” in Heilbronn is the first and so far only wooden high-rise in Germany. On the ninth floor, two prototypical model apartments for modern Micro Living have been created with spatial approaches based on Häfele’s 360° comprehensive project solutions and fitting solutions. Photo: Häfele

To reduce the number of interfaces, the entire fitting technology comes from a single source: Thus, the architects were able to draw on abundant resources to create a maximum of living quality on only 39 or 46 square metres floorspace.

The model apartments are designed for one to two people and are characterised by an efficient arrangement of intelligently designed built-in furniture, creating a sense of largesse and flexibility.

For the future inhabitants of the wooden giant as well as interested visitors to the Horticultural Show, they serve as inspiration for compact and comfortable living

What do you need most in a micro-apartment? Space!

This apparent contradiction was successfully resolved by the architects in both apartments: With hallway, living room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – the 2-person apartment even includes a loggia – the small apartments have all the elements of a “normal” apartment. Even a pantry could be accommodated!

Due to the very compact arrangement of the built-in furniture, which together occupy an impressive 14 running metres of cabinet space, the apartments have plenty of storage space to efficiently meet different needs. Photo: Häfele

Everything is cleverly organised to save space: Due to the very compact arrangement of the built-in furniture, which together occupy an impressive 14 running metres of cabinet space, the apartments have plenty of storage space to efficiently meet different needs. The range extends from low storage furniture, which also serves as a bench, via wall units to room-high elements.

The contiguous living, dining, and kitchen area appears very generous: An approximately three-metre-wide, floor-to-ceiling window with a French balcony grants not only a magnificent view of the city up here on the ninth floor, but also provides plenty of air and light and with it a special feeling of open space.

With Slido fittings from Häfele, the room transitions between the hallway and living room or between the living room and bedroom could be discreetly equipped with convenient sliding doors. Photo: Häfele

Many creative ideas that make life in a micro-apartment so practical could only be conveniently implemented with Häfele products: For example, a desk is integrated into the cabinet zone in the living space, including a worktop that can be folded down if necessary.

This is accomplished with a high-quality pivot hinge for writing bureau from the Häfele range, with a load bearing capacity of up to 80 kg.

A sliding element on the shelf wall is also a projection screen for the projector. Airy metal shelves between the “kitchen area” and the “living area”, with flexible linear runners to slide them back and forth, serve as a shelf for an iPad and cookbooks or stage glasses and dishes.

Space-consuming utensils and textiles can be stowed away quickly in the spacious cabinets around the bed. Photo: Häfele

In the area of the wardrobe, they serve as convenient shelves for hats, scarves, and bags.

Thanks to movable side panels, a compact dining table can be quickly be enlarged to a table for six to eight people. And the two-seater sofa is converted into a sleeper couch for a guest in no time.

Even with the kitchen, fully equipped with hob, oven, and dishwasher, the planners have thought outside the box. A sink that can be accessed from two sides provides maximum freedom of movement.

Fittings for extension cabinets, so-called “pull-outs for kitchen larder units”, make the entire cabinet depth conveniently accessible. This keeps the contents of the cabinet organised.

Slido fittings from Häfele. Photo: Häfele

The bedroom in the smaller apartment is equipped with a cozy alcove. Here, too, the convenient extension fittings by Häfele were used. Space-consuming utensils and textiles can now be stowed away quickly in the spacious cabinets around the bed, and bedspreads and pillows can be removed from view during the day.

Convenient sliding doors, light in furniture, and much more…

Häfele Functionality brings maximum flexibility and versatility to home furnishing – with comparatively low investment: An effective extension of the room light is achieved with the Häfele Loox LED lighting system.

It can create subtle atmospheric nuances and accentuate individual zones in the home. Integrated into the built-in cabinets as indirect lighting, Loox LED strip lights provide more depth in rooms, and the dimmable control offers individualised well-being. It also offers good work light in the kitchen area.

In the bathroom, the multi-functional bathroom mirror from the Häfele Aquasys product range also offers a demister to prevent fogging, excellent light, and convenient sound via Bluetooth. With Slido fittings, the room transitions between the hallway and living room or between the living room and bedroom could be discreetly equipped with convenient sliding doors.

Flush-fitting inset handles in the door leaves make the doors disappear completely in the wall pockets to save space. The satin-finished glass door to the hallway offers light throughout while the wooden door to the bedroom creates privacy, even if there are still people in the living room..

Consistent materiality in the first wooden high-rise in Germany

Aluminium, real wood surfaces – natural or translucently painted white – exposed concrete, ceramic coverings, and anthracite grey linoleum floors form the material collection of the building in which the interior design is holistically integrated.

This achieves maximum quality of life and an aesthetic appearance across all nine living floors and the large roof terrace. The furniture in the common areas is made of spruce, in the apartments, the fittings are coated with easy-care, white melamine and real spruce wood veneer.

They reinforce the pleasant feeling of living in a wooden house without appearing rustic. The lift lobbies on each floor are kept in white and exposed concrete. Light boxes offer information about the respective floor.

They also make reference to the omnipresent natural material with regional forest motifs.

“Micro Living is an important topic that planners, manufacturers, and the housing industry must address in an interdisciplinary manner”, concludes Armin Schäfer. “Only by working together we can solve the urgent task of creating affordable and space-efficient housing. Here in Heilbronn, this cooperation has succeeded in an exemplary manner.”

About Häfele

Häfele is an internationally organized family owned and operated business with headquarters in Nagold, Germany.

The Häfele logistics center in Nagold. From here, the company supplies fitting technology all over the world. Photo: Häfele

It was founded in 1923 and today serves the furniture industry, architects, planners, cabinet makers/joiners as well as dealers in over 150 countries around the world with furniture fittings and architectural hardware as well as electronic access control systems.

Häfele develops and manufactures hardware fittings and electronic access control systems in five factories in Germany and Hungary. In the 2017 financial year the Häfele Group achieved exports of 80% with over 7800 employees in 37 subsidiaries and numerous additional dealerships around the world and revenue of 1.4 billion Euros.

Source and pictures: Häfele

Enter your email to get updates automatically:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *