MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

envisioning the ‘next 500’ years of social housing

 

MVRDV unveils a celebratory pavilion in Augsburg, Germany to honor the 500th anniversary of the Fuggerei — the world’s oldest social housing complex. The completion of the so-called ‘NEXT500’ pavilion kicks off a five-week program of discussion and events centered on the future of social housing. The curving timber structure houses an exhibition dubbed ‘Fuggerei of the Future’ which proposes a new ‘Fuggerei code’ and three proposals for new similar complexes around the world.

 

While the social housing complex has stood in Augsburg since 1521, the 500th anniversary was celebrated last August 23rd, 2021 — exactly 500 years after its founding. The completion of the pavilion marks the beginning of the five weeks of programming. See designboom’s previous coverage here.

 


 

UPDATE June 14th, 2022: From May 6 to June 12, the NEXT500 Pavilion hosted over 100 events, including workshops, concerts, readings, guided tours, and panel discussions. These events not only celebrated the Fuggerei’s anniversary, but also highlighted the relevance of this housing complex in this current time. 

 

After these five weeks of events which attracted 30,000 visitors, the NEXT500 Pavilion will move to the Dutch city of Groningen. During the next two weeks, the cross-laminated timber panels of the structure will be dismantled and shipped to the Netherlands, where it will be rebuilt as an event space for the Fraeylemaborg Foundation Art and English landscape park (see here).

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing compleximages © Eckhart Matthäus | @eckhartmatthaeus

 

 

a cantilevering space for lectures and debates

 

MVRDV’s NEXT500 pavilion in Augsburg, Germany takes shape as a long, narrow, gabled building inspired by the long terraced houses of the Fuggerei (see here) social housing complex itself. Rather than a single straight block, one end of the pavilion is curved and raised up to suggest its role in looking out to the future Fuggereien, both in Augsburg and around the world.

 

This lifted end forms cantilever extending 8.5 meters (28 feet) which houses a tribune for lectures, debates, workshops and other cultural events. MVRDV (see more here) builds the structure entirely from cross-laminated timber, pushing the boundaries of modern CLT technology with its eight-metre cantilever and double-curved elements. 

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

 

 

sustainable construction by mvrdv

 

Sustainability played a critical role in the selection of this structural approach; wood stores carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, while CLT allowed the pavilion to use a modular system that makes the pavilion easily demountable, ensuring it can have a second life within a social or sustainable context. The wood is sourced from the Fuggerei’s own forests, while the structure’s wooden interiors were built by a local carpenter.

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

 

 

inside the pavilion in augsburg, germany

 

Inside the pavilion, visitors can experience an exhibition on the ‘Fuggerei of the Future,’ Though the Fuggerei was founded in 1521 by the German merchant Jakob Fugger, in these times of housing shortage, climate crisis, social inequality, and isolation, the sustainability-oriented and people- centred concept of the Fuggerei still offers a model for our current era.

 

For the exhibition, MVRDV and the Fugger Foundation studied the existing complex in Augsburg and, in line with the Fuggerei’s newly written ‘Fuggerei Code,’ distilled the complex’s formula for successful social housing. The result is eight simple ‘building blocks’ that provide the basis for a system for new Fuggerei that can be adapted to differing contexts worldwide. These building blocks are also referenced in the pavilion’s internal layout, with eight different spaces for the exhibition and events inspired by the eight building blocks.

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

 

 

the three proposals for a future fuggerei

 

To test these principles, MVRDV also developed three proposals for Fuggerei both inside and outside Europe. The first is proposed for the original hometown of Augsburg, Germany, and is distinguished from the original Fuggerei by its educational focus, aiming to provide self-determination and to reduce the city’s wealth gap through education.

 

The second Fuggerei of the future is intended for a community in rural Lithuania, focussing on elderly poverty and a crisis in social care due to an aging population with a complex set in a beautiful natural environment.

 

The third Fuggerei focusses on Rothumba, a remote fishing village in Sierra Leone, with the strategy of empowering residents and creating a safe environment for women and children. Based on the Fuggerei Code and building blocks developed in the study, the appearances of these future Fuggereien depend on their purpose and location, but the principles are the same as the 500-year-old original.

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

 

 

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission comments: ‘500 years of the Fuggerei represents the success that the people of Augsburg have achieved together over the centuries. Behind this is an admirable sense of citizenship, combined with entrepreneurial foresight.

 

It has proven to be effective to always put the well-being of society above one’s own and thus to meet with common strength the historical challenges but also the hardships of everyday life. Europe offers its sincere congratulations on this achievement!‘ 

MVRDV-NEXT500-pavilion-fuggerei-germany-groningen-netherlands-designboom-06a

MVRDV's pavilion honors 500 years of fuggerei, world's oldest social housing complex

MVRDV-NEXT500-pavilion-fuggerei-germany-groningen-netherlands-designboom-08a

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