07.05.2020  | ZÜBLIN Timber

ZÜBLIN Timber building Collegium Academicum residence hall in Heidelberg

Image: Innovative wooden skeleton construction: model of the four-storey Collegium Academicum to be built by ZÜBLIN Timber in Heidelberg. Rendering/model: DGJ Architektur GmbH, Frankfurt

Heidelberg, 7 May 2020        
ZÜBLIN Timber is building a four-storey hall of residence, the Collegium Academicum, in the centre of the German university town of Heidelberg over the next twelve months using solid timber construction. The contract awarded by Collegium Academicum GmbH, a project team made up of a group of university students, is worth approximately € 4.4 million for ZÜBLIN Timber. According to the project initiators, the goal of the carefully planned project is to create a residence for self-governed living and learning as well as a place for cultural and social exchange in an educational context.

The new building was designed by the Frankfurt-based architectural firm DGJ Architektur, a specialist in sustainable architecture. Upon completion, the hall of residence will have a gross floor area of approx. 7,200 m². The four-storey building is being constructed entirely of wood without fire protection cladding.

Already during the design and planning phase, the lighthouse project for environmentally sustainable timber construction took into consideration aspects such as the circular economy, hidden carbon emissions in the building structure and on-site power generation through photovoltaics. Good thermal insulation will also help reduce the energy consumption for space heating. The structural concept foresees joining the timber components without metal fasteners. As in traditional timber buildings, the shape and orientation of the wooden elements to each other ensure a stable bond.

ZÜBLIN Timber is using glued laminated timber, BauBuche and cross-laminated timber in the construction. Supports, ceilings and walls are being prefabricated at the company’s Aichach plant. The elements are then assembled at the construction site in Heidelberg, which greatly shortens the construction time. 

Self-governed student residence, educational and cultural centre
Conceived by a small group of students in 2013, the idea has since grown into an approximately € 18 million lighthouse project. The Collegium Academicum residence consists of three block-shaped buildings connected by a single-storey hall. Each of the building blocks will offer living space for 176 residents in 46 apartments. A unique feature are the movable partition walls in the individual residential units that can be flexibly adapted to individual wishes and needs.

Also planned are a wide range of communal areas with a total of more than 500 m² of space, including a workshop room, an auditorium, a rooftop garden and several seminar rooms. The Collegium Academicum will offer plenty of options for culture, social interaction and self-determined education. The many possibilities include tutorials, lecture series and workshops, regional food sharing, cooking and eating together, or making repairs at the in-house workshop. A café, also self-managed, completes the list of offerings.

Collegium Academicum GmbH has no commercial interests in the building. The goal is to offer affordable long-term housing for young people in Heidelberg. The rental income – the total rent for a room including utilities comes to around € 300 a month – will be used to cover maintenance costs, administration and the repayment of loans.