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Smart Material Houses

Soft House

Soft House - Außenansicht, Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein Soft House - Außenansicht Detail, Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein Soft House und BIQ, Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein Bild: IBA Hamburg GmbH / Bernadette Grimmenstein


Soft House


The Soft House, designed by Kennedy & Violich Architecture, uses its dynamic textile façade to harness sunlight in a versatile and smart way, while its solid wood construction makes it a model of sustainable construction. Each of its four family-friendly, three-storey units has its own garden. The terrace on the first upper floor offers residents views over the Kanukanal and the Island Park.

Taking Cues from Nature

The textile membrane façade on the southern side of the building is moveable and turns towards the sunlight, similarly to a sunflower. Photovoltaic cells incorporated into the membrane can thus make the best use of the sunlight for producing energy. Parts of the façade also cast shade in summer, while in winter they minimise energy loss and allow light to penetrate deeper into the interior. The view can also be adjusted by the residents.

Cosy, Environmentally Friendly Construction

The wooden construction, which has been built to passive house standard and has retained its natural finish, forms housing units that are awash with light and connected with one another on all levels. Due to its carbon-reducing properties, the solid wood structure makes an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional brickwork construction.

Curtains as a Design Feature

Moveable, transparent “curtains” are used inside the apartments. These allow the residents to partition the spacious interiors themselves, and change the layout as they wish. They also help the residents to regulate heat and warmth within their own homes. The electricity generated by the membrane façade on the outside of the building is fed directly into these curtains, which are embedded with LEDs and can also provide additional light within the apartments.

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Am Inselpark 5
21109 Hamburg

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Beginning of construction:
February 2012

March 2013

Property size:
approx. 1,050 sqm

Gross floor area:
approx. 800 sqm

Sizes of residential units:
4 houses á 180 sqm

Energy standard:
Passive house standard

Energy supply:
Integrated mobile photovoltaic elements in the roof and facade membrane, heat pumps and Integrated Energy Network Central


2014 A+ Awards - Jury winner in category Residential low rise (1-4 floors)

FIABCI Prix d'Excellence Germany as one of the '20 Best projects of the year'


Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston


Projektentwicklung GmbH
Fuggerstraße 26
86150 Augsburg