This is Waldspirale, and it is an apartment block. Go figure. It contains 105 apartments, a kiosk, parking garage, courtyard, playground, artificial lake, rooftop cafe and bar. It also has a green roof, what an epic approach to eco-living. No two windows or handles are the same and trees grow from some windows. Plus it has gold onion domes.
Apartment blocks are more than just a practical way to maximise the use of valuable space in cramped towns and cities. These urban habitats can be beautiful too, and striking examples of architectural ingenuity.
With this in mind, we’ve found a selection of design gems to fire your creativity.
Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada
This gargantuan development overlooking the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal was designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, and was originally a pavilion for Expo 67 World’s Fair in 1967. During the course of the event, the structure was visited by thousands of visitors from around the world, all wowed by its inventive use of space.
Habitat 67 comprises 354 identical prefabricated concrete boxes arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height. Together, these units create 146 homes of varying sizes and unique configurations, all designed to integrate the benefits of suburban housing, such as gardens, fresh air and privacy with the economics and density of an apartment building.
Waldspirale, Darmstadt, Germany
The 1990s Waldspirale development is the brainchild of Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertswasser, but planned and implemented by architect, Heinz Springmann. Known as ‘Forest Spiral’ in English, due to its helical plan and roof garden, the building contains 105 apartments, a parking garage and a number of commercial units all laid out around a landscaped courtyard.
Featuring a facade covered in irregular stripes painted in a range of earth tones, the structure boasts more than 1,000 windows (no two of which are alike), all topped by a host of gilded onion domes, giving it a distinctly Russian appearance.
The Interlace, Singapore
It hasn’t been built yet, but the 170,000m2 Interlace project is already making waves in Singapore, due to its vast size and resemblance to a giant game of Jenga.
When it’s finished, the development will comprise 31 six-storey apartment blocks stacked on top of each other in a hexagonal arrangement. The homes will be positioned around strategically placed lakes that act as air conditioners to keep the surrounding flats and outdoor space cool in the tropical heat. They will boast a number of additional sustainable design features, including additional light wells, and renewable energy generation techniques, to help minimise their environmental impact.
Have you worked on any ambitious residential projects?
Waldspirale is a German residential building, located in Darmstadt. It was designed by Austrian painter and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, implemented by architect, Heinz M. Springmann, and built by the Bauverein Darmstadt company. The building contains over one hundred apartments, a courtyard, a cafe, and a bar. It was completed in the year of Hundertwasser’s death.
A little information about the designer: Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an Austrian-born painter and architect, known for his environmentally-friendly, Utopian forms, and rejection of the straight line in architecture. Over a dozen of his designs have been built.