PRESS RELEASE | UNStudio stretches living to the max with completion of the 'Van B' Residences PRESS RELEASE | UNStudio stretches living to the max with completion of the 'Van B' Residences

PRESS RELEASE | UNStudio stretches living to the max with completion of the 'Van B' Residences

With its one to three room, highly flexible apartments, flats, gallery lofts and rooftop flats, UNStudio and developer Bauwerk‘s recently completed 'Van B' residential project in Munich not only caters to changing demographics and multiple family constellations, it offers indoor-outdoor living, communal spaces, shared facilities and a new highly flexible plug-in system that can make a 40m2 apartment feel like a 60m2 loft.

Located on a square next to the Creative Quarter, and the Olympiapark, at the confluence of the three best districts in Munich, 'Van B' houses 142 apartments, flats and penthouses served by 81 underground parking spaces.

All photography by Evabloem / Hufton+Crow / Bauwerk-Sorin Morar

Expanding space

Creating connections between people and the outdoors and using outdoor space as an extension of the living spaces was essential to the design of 'Van B', where a sense of expanding the space is created by pushing the inside out and pulling the outside in.

The indoor-outdoor living experience is created by bay windows, balconies, roof gardens and terraces, alongside shared and private gardens, a rooftop garden with 360º panoramic views and an inner courtyard with fitness and relaxation zones.

'Van B' also offers an architectural expression of the ideas of the sharing economy, community creation and inclusive ways of living. As such, residents can enjoy a co-living space for working from home or social gatherings and make use of a parcel box system, car/e-bike sharing, e-charging stations and a bike repair station.

Ben van Berkel: "Social connection is essential for our wellbeing. Now more than ever, we are seeing that many people desire and need to meet regularly with their families, friends and neighbours. But with neighbours in particular, such encounters are usually spontaneous and so they need to be facilitated. Architecture can create frameworks that enable people to meet, where neighbourhood communities can be shaped and where spontaneous encounters can occur."

Where quality meters become more important than square meters

While four different typologies create a diverse mix of apartments (ranging in size from 33 m2 to 168 m2), 'Van B' also challenges old conventions of square footage and fixed footprints to empower people to live in more flexible ways.

The 'Van B' plug-in system allows you to easily change the use of the same floor space in a matter of seconds, making it possible to transform a room from a generous office into a cosy living room, or a bedroom.

To achieve this flexibility, UNStudio, in collaboration with Bauwerk, designed an adaptable partition and furniture ‘plugin-based’ system that can be installed in all of the 'Van B' apartments, regardless of size.

The system introduces a set of nine optional plug-ins that enable residents to reconfigure their apartment to their immediate needs, allowing them to choreograph their space around their day, instead of the other way around.

Ben van Berkel: "Flexibility has become more important to people today than sheer size, because individual spaces in our homes have had to become multi-functional, serving as offices, gyms, living rooms and sleeping nooks, all at the same time. This means that now, more than ever before, we need to develop new living concepts that cater to the changing demands of our homes."

Residents can choose an individual configuration of plug-ins based on a catalogue of nine elements. Each partition can work in different configurations, as no matter which elements the homeowner chooses, and no matter how they arrange them inside their apartment, the modules will work together.

Ben van Berkel: “What makes 'Van B' truly special and unique is that it offers a completely new form of ‘smart’ living. This is not smart in the usual sense of tech integration; it instead involves reinterpreting ideas from the digital world in order to improve the analogue, physical spaces we inhabit.“

The building

In the apartments, the large bay windows and balconies create visual connections between the street, the homes and the trees that line the road. These bay windows also serve to provide the building with a sculptural three-dimensional shell, composed of concrete and copper-coloured metal framing.

Visualisation: bloomimages

With their glazed facades, the gallery lofts that face the courtyard on the ground floor invite residents to open up their apartments and extend their living rooms into the garden. Having their own address, these triple height apartments almost work as small houses nestled within the building.

Above and below: interior design by Gisbert Pöppler
Roof terrace. Design by Regina Hoefter

'Van B' Editions

The project also includes the ‘Van B Editions’: ten individually furnished rooftop flats with private roof terraces, all of which have been finished and furnished by ten of Germany’s top interior designers.

Above and below: interior design by Holzrausch

Jürgen Schorn, Managing Partner, Bauwerk: "As 'Van B' offers various types of flats, we are very pleased that many young cosmopolitans, singles and couples from all over the world have found their home there and brought the building to life."

The 'Van B' project fulfills all of the strict sustainability regulations in Germany. In addition, parts of the foundation and basement structure from the previous building were re-used for the new building and the basement walls were reinforced. In this way it was possible to save on construction materials, while speeding up the building process. The roof garden also serves to cool the building, while the bay windows are orientated to optimise daylight in the apartments.

Explore the full project here.


Project credits:

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel with Jan Schellhoff and Julia Gottstein, Bart Chompff, Alexandra Virlan, Dimitra Chatzipantazi, Ana Maldonado, Patrik Noomé

Local Architect: BKLS Architekten
Landscape Architect: Andreas Kübler und Partner
Cost and Quantity Surveying: Leitwerk AG
Structure: Ingenieurgesellschaft albrecht + brettfeld mbh                 
MEP: IB Schmidbauer Planungsgesellschaft Haustechnik mbH & MTM-Plan GmbH
Fire safety: Brandschutzservice Zobel GmbH

Visualisations: ©Bauwerk / Bloomimages
Photography: ©Evabloem / ©Hufton+Crow / ©Bauwerk-Sorin Morar