Reuse, Reclaim, Revitalise: Collaboration with Deutsches Architektur Museum

The reuse of abandoned and derelict urban structures has been of popular concern over recent years due to the scarcity of new real estate in dense urban centers. In October 2012 UNStudio was one of five teams invited to participate in a weeklong workshop with the Deutsches Architektur Museum (DAM) to examine how the Parkhaus Karstadt parking structure adjacent to Frankfurts MyZeil shopping district could be revitalised and repurposed to promote a new multiplicity of users to engage with the neglected space.

In relationship to other economic hubs throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, Frankfurt possesseds a unique dilemma of offering a very limited range of high end housing in close proximity to the its cities financial center. Neighboring capital cities such as London, Paris, Zurich and Moscow all provide a wide range of high-end housing with an average market price of 13,000 USD/m2. In contrast, real estate costs in Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, are less than one third of the cost, averaging only 4,000 USD/m2 within the city centre.

Given these figures, our reclamation for the Parkhaus Karstadt proposes a playful approach to bring sophistication to Frankfurt’s urban living through a series of modular plug in living units. Through maintaining the existing vehicle circulation, the car park organisation allowed future residents to access all units by car, thus promoting the idea of the 'Suburban Dream' within the city centre. Users would be able to immediately escape the urban chaos and drive directly to their front door, admire their lawn, and look at the view of the city skyline. In total, four different modular units ranging in size and cost are distributed through the eight-storey parking structure to a total of 10 units within the complex. The prototypical goal of these plug-in units was to utilise all existing structural elements creating a seamless integration between the living units and the existing parking structure.

Both the individual living units themselves and the abandoned Parkhaus serve as a prototype illustrating the flexibility of otherwise forgotten spaces within our urban environment. Our goal aims to promote the reuse, reclamation and revitalisation of these spaces as a responsible approach for future development.

UNStudio Team: Ben van Berkel, Christian Veddeler, Tomas Mokry, Jeff Johnson, Ayax Garcia, Gosha Muhammad