+ WBM+, (Berlin), 2018

Text, Drawings, Pictures

- shared common living in cities

Project created as a part of a free semester and research work at the architecture deprtament ETH Zürich in Berlin, 
Studio Brandlhuber (DARCH, ETH Zürich); Prof. Arno Brandlhuber und Olaf Grawert,
in cooperation with the communal housing association Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Mitte (WBM)    



WBM+ proposes another way of living in cities. The city as a house. The house as a city.


WBM+ is a project for a network of new houses in vacant lots. Rooms in new houses in vacant plots are used collectively by existing residents as well as new inhabitants. These shared rooms can be reserved and booked on an app. Residents whose private living space is smaller than 30 m2 / person receive free access to them. If their privately used living space is bigger, they can reduce it by moving into a smaller flat, restructuring their existing flat or sharing their flat with an additional inhabitant.            

In this way participants of WBM+ will pay less rent and gain additional usages, like kitchens, workrooms, saunas, guest apartments, terraces and many more. Providing collectively used extra spaces in vacant building lots in the neighbourhood, encourages residents to reduce their private living space. This will create additional dwelling area for new inhabitants in existing houses. Small lots are usually too small for apartment buildings, but due to the network concept of WBM+ inner densification is made possible, combining it with collective neighbourhoods.


WBM+ works in every city. As an example it was designed in the inner city of Berlin. German Democratic Republic filled inner city plots with prefabricated houses. Since they were based on standardised elements, small gaps were left out between them and the old existing building structures. These lots will in this case host the new buildings of WBM+ with their commonly shared extra spaces. Properties of the communal housing association WBM are the basis for the design. Berlin faces a great housing shortage and especially in the inner districts prices are raising drastically.        


People live so differently! They have different hobbies, get children, host friends, celebrate parties, work on projects. This requires a lot of extra space which is only temporarily used. Many people desire an extra workroom, a guest room, a spacious kitchen, a practice room for music, a playing room for their kids or an extra room for teenagers. In dense city centres with raising rents this is becoming increasingly difficult. WBM+ aims to provide all these extra spaces in new houses built in vacant lots in the neighbourhood. By providing better living quality for everyone, the privately used living space can be reduced. Additional and affordable housing is thus created in existing buildings. Families with children can stay in their flats renting an additional room instead of having to move to a bigger flat. The private house will open up to the neighbourhood, which becomes a house with many residents living together