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High versatility under one roof: the IBA Hamburg is presenting forward-looking housing with its Hybrid Houses, which respond to the changing needs of residents and support them at different stages of their lives, rather than restricting them. Hybrid Houses are buildings that offer modifiable spaces. This adaptability allows them to be used for residential, work, or community living purposes, thus demonstrating how flexible and sustainable home construction might look in the future.
Versatile Buildings for a Changing Society
Adaptable buildings are set to play a major role in future urban planning, as the general conditions for social coexistence in cities are changing more rapidly than ever. Family relationships and professional circumstances are shifting constantly. City dwellers are thus expressing an increasing demand for houses, apartments, and workplaces that are able to respond to these constant changes. Rooms and homes must be able to be extended and returned to their normal size, or divided into separate sections. Housing solutions will be required that enable temporary use as a living space, or allow homes to be inhabited by people from several generations. Developing hybrid houses represents an opportunity to test out plans for combining versatile and multi-purpose living and working spaces under one roof.
Longevity through Adaptability
Over the course of a day a building will be variously used for living and working. Buildings in which both of these functions are possible alongside and in tandem with one another therefore allow for greater user-friendliness. Their spaces and facilities can be assigned to more than one purpose, and used multiple times.
This concept of multiple usage is also becoming increasingly important in terms of the overall energy balance for housing, as adaptable houses last longer. As part of its Hybrid Houses project, the IBA Hamburg is therefore also pursuing the goal of developing sustainable homes that can meet the challenges of the future.
Hybrid Houses: Three Houses, Three Approaches
The four-storey igs Centre was the first Hybrid House to open, in 2011, and will be used as an office and visitor centre until late 2013. After 2013 this first cycle of use will come to an end, and the building will be ready for multi-purpose re-use. At this point the building's special characteristics will really come into play, as the change in use will entail very little in the way of conversion costs. The individual areas can be adapted to the changing needs of the users thanks to a system of supports and modular upper floors: offices can be turned into apartments, while the downstairs can be transformed into either large or small commercial units.
You can learn more about the hybrid features of these houses on the project website.
Next to the igs centre stands a two-part building, known quite simply as the “Hybrid House” that contains twelve privately-owned maisonette apartments. The unique feature of this building is the way in which the lighting differs in the living and working areas over the course of the day, making use of the innovative ground plans and interlocking units. Just like in a detached house, each unit offers views in all directions, thus meeting the needs of people who sometimes work from home.
You can learn more about the options for working and living in the same space on the Hybrid Houses project website.
The third Hybrid Houses project was titled “Hybrid Development” and built south of the canoeing canal, just inside the Island Park. This building provides maximum flexibility on each floor and is essentially based on a sophisticated, open structure. Living and working areas can be clearly demarcated here so that they exist side by side, or they can be joined together with ease. Several units within the building can be joined up horizontally or even vertically, as duplex apartments.
You can learn more about this special structure and hybrid design on the project website.