Rooftop Modular Wooden Homes Proposed for Berlin

©. Sigurd Larsen via Metza Wood

Metsä Wood design competition produces very interesting entries, like this one from Sigurd Larsen.

The Jury is in on the Metsä Wood Plan B: The City above the City competition, where architects and students were challenged to “design a wooden extension to an existing urban building” using their fancy plywood on steroids, Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber.

section of model

© Sigurd Larsen via Metza WoodGiven such a weirdly specific program for a competition, the results are very interesting and, in fact, very valuable; there are rooftops all over the world that could be occupied to provide more living space, more housing units. One project I really liked was Sigurd Larsen’s Dachkiez,Village On The Roof​, in Berlin. After the Second World War there was a lot of freshly available land for building new housing, and some interesting projects were built, including a concrete slab apartment building almost 900 feet long, with a very big roof.


© Sigurd Larsen via Metza Wood

One notable feature about concrete is that it gets stronger as it ages; it takes decades for it to cure totally. Similarly, over time foundations can often carry more load as the ground under them compresses. The Kerto LVL is strong and light, compared to other materials, so it is not a stretch to add residential units on top. Larsen describes the design:

As a first layer, a long green park is established on the roof along the entire length of the building. The park offers a scenic walk with paths between little hills containing the roots of the trees. Every hallway is extended with a staircase and elevator so every neighbor gets access to the attractive outdoor facilities. The new dwellings are organized as a long stretched village underscoring the horizontality of the concrete block, fading into little forests and meadows framing the astonishing view. Everyone in the house gets access to the low horizon seen from above Berlin's many trees.
module of living unit

© Sigurd Larsen via Metza Wood

It’s all modular too, which makes construction faster and less disruptive:

The new houses are based on a modular system. The basic module is suitable for singles and couples. A plug-in module with bedroom creates additional space for a child or for students to share a home. A third unit adds a bedroom more and upgrades the bathroom for larger families. In this way, a social mix is facilitated. The light construction made entirely in wood is also highlighted in the aesthetic of the inner spaces and creates a comfortable inner climate.
interior of living unit

© Sigurd Larsen via Metza Wood

Juror Mike Kane notes: “Like the many Berlin entries, this entry was both believable and utterly relevant to its social and urban context. Entirely possible to construct and adds a further layer of landscape to the city.” It is more than just Berlin, and 800-foot-long buildings; this could be done almost everywhere.

model looking down length

© Sigurd Larsen via Metza Wood