Form follows tradition: the rows of gables of the quartier and the adjacent residential block fit seamlessly into Garmisch’s historical center. The entire ensemble proves that sustainable construction, modern spatial organization, and respect for cultural heritage are not incompatible.

The residential quarter “Altes Garmisch, neu gelebt”

Scenic view of the residential buildings of the quarter nestled amidst greenery, with a church and forest in the backdrop.

Stakeholders and project

Project supervisor
VEHBL Baugemeinschaft GbR
Idea generator overall concept
Theo Peter, BauZEIT Netzwerk GmbH www.bauzeit-netzwerk.de
Beer Bembé Dellinger Architekten und Stadtplaner GmbH, Anne Beer, Felix Bembé, Sebastian Dellinger, Greifenberg www.bbdarch.de
December 2016
Usable area
7.400 m2

How can we create density without a sense of confinement? How can open floorplans be compatible with traditional forms of construction? How can a whole residential area with four existing buildings and a new lodging building be integrated into the town? How can we create affordable residential space near the center? The Garmisch joint building venture has succeeded in doing that in the middle of a high-priced tourism area. Modern single-family and semi-detached buildings fit in organically with local existing structures; the new lodging building of the quartier shields the ensemble from the thoroughfare. The green is used communally and creates privacy. The traditional gable forms and the compactness of the entire development underline that it belongs to Garmisch’s historical center.

View of the residential buildings with a sightline to the church

Scenic view of the residential buildings of the quarter blanketed in pristine snow, with a church and mountains in the background under a clear, wintry sky.

Through new construction in the area, it was possible to create a mixed-use development from scratch: offices, workshops, and a manufacture share the square with residential units, the renovated villa of the quartier and its lodges. Things could have been different, because originally, a larger hotel complex had been planned for the empty plot around the demolished hospital. Instead, the project “Altes Garmisch, neu gelebt” was chosen for its quality and vision in terms of urban planning. The town council mandated that the entire area had to be bought, including the four existing buildings. A stroke of good fortune, because now it was possible to design the entire square as a unified whole.

Site plan of the area measuring almost one hectare

Site plan of Garmisch with the Quarter highlighted.

Density and permeability

Without risking peace and privacy, a denser than usual development was possible: on a little less than a hectare, a total of 27 residential units could be realized, despite the quartier and existing buildings. Especially for a site in town in a rural area, the overall project is considered to be exemplary. The plot is located precisely on the sightline between the church spire and the Zugspitze, therefore it is on the one hand both at the intersection of village center and mountain landscape, and on the other hand between thoroughfare and pedestrian zone. The transition is gradual because the new buildings on the one hand quote traditional forms, and on the other hand have similar measurements throughout. The reorganization is oriented on the density, mixed use, and construction form of the old village center.

Overview of the buildings

  1. preserved old building
  2. New residential buildings
  3. Communal garden
  4. The quartier (lodging)
  5. Access to underground parking
Layout plan of a series of buildings, showcasing their arrangement in the Quarter. In the top left  and bottom right corners is Building No. 1, a preserved old building. In the center, there are two rows of buildings marked as No. 2, which are new residential buildings. Between these rows lies No. 3, a communal garden. Building No. 4 is situated on the right side of the layout, and at the bottom right corner is Building No. 5, providing access to underground parking.

Model photograph of the residential buildings

View of a mockup of two residential buildings of the Quarters.

Perspective drawing of the residential buildings

Perspective drawing of a multi-story residential building with windows at the front and back, showcasing its architectural design and depth.

Mission accomplished

Existing buildings were preserved, the townscape was sensitively complemented, sustainable buildings were realized, and affordable living space was created at the town center. Committed work at the local level and participatory structures, together with high design and technical standards, have have led to a convincing solution between alpine-traditional and sustainable modern. Historic structures were combined with modern wood construction into something new and larger: nothing less than a vibrant, livable, and sustainable residential area with a forward-looking lodging establishment.

Scenic view of the residential buildings of the quarter surrounded by greenery, against a backdrop of a mountain range and vivid blue sky.
View of the new building of the quarter with wooded facade and large windows against a backdrop of a mountain range and vivid blue sky.
Street view of the old villa in the foreground, followed by residential buildings and a church against the blue sky.
Innenansicht mit einer Holzskulptur, die an einer tragenden Säule im Vordergrund angebracht ist, mit einem Stuhl und einem Fenster mit Blick nach draußen im Hintergrund.
Der Blick aus dem Obergeschoss des Empfangsbereichs zeigt runde Betonbrüstungen auf der rechten Seite und große Fenster auf der linken Seite.

Awards and prizes

The project has been awarded several times 1st Prize for Building Culture of the Munich Metropolitan Region 2018 Winner Heinze Architects AWARD 2018 Prize winner HolzbauPlus 2018 Winner Wessobrunner Architecture Award 2018 Winner DETAIL Award 2018 Online Voting Winner DAM Award Nomination 2018 Nomination German Timber Construction Award 2018 Award Holzbaupreis Bayern 2019 BDA Award Bavaria 2019