The changing age structure in the EU towards an increasingly ageing society requires new forms of living and architectural adaptations to fulfil changing needs of use. How should floor plans and building structures be designed to enable long-term self-determined and community-oriented living and life even in old age? What expectations can be raised regarding intergenerational and integrative forms of housing?
Inclusive forms of living are characterised by a high mix of residents and inclusive architectural arrangements. Various and flexible flat sizes allow for a diverse resident structure for pensioners, families, singles, shared flats and assisted living. Barrier-free and low-barrier residential buildings with entrances without steps or thresholds, a minimum door size, sufficient space for movement in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms as well as a floor-level shower are also an important prerequisite for enabling inclusive living.
In the Sargfabrik housing project, the structural measures were adapted to the special needs and integration of people with disabilities. Thus, among other things, a socio-pedagogical residential community of the Office for Youth and Family of the City of Vienna, asylum places in individual residential units or a residential community for people with disabilities, as well as residential units for short-term housing (e.g. for young refugees), find space (Sargfabrik 2015a). Volunteer initiatives and working groups support the community living according to the principle: “everyone can participate – no one has to” (Sargfabrik 2015b).
Another project, the intergenerational-living complex in Vienna (Generationenwohnanlage) offers space for 55 residential units, a children’s group and a senior citizens’ club. The last mentioned is located in the centre of the building structure, is accessible via pergolas and is bordered on both sides by longitudinal blocks with residential units. Thus, the u-shaped, completely barrier-free complex with a green communal courtyard open to the north, offers space for encounters. The floor plans of the flats are designed flexibly and allow for different living forms and sizes (Praschl-Goodarzi Architekten ZT-GmbH n.y.).
Lessons learned and synergies
Intergenerational and inclusive housing projects promote cooperation as well as mutual help and support in everyday life, e.g. in caring for children, physically handicapped persons or senior citizens. Inclusive housing projects enable people not only in the city but also in rural areas to remain in their familiar living environment or to reorient themselves in the period after the employment phase (BMFSFJ 2012, p. 8).
For intergenerational housing, socially acceptable rents are needed in the long term so that personal housing can be afforded in every situation. Cooperative forms of organisation play a special role here. It also requires a demand-oriented infrastructure for local supply and daily needs as well as opportunities to interact with the neighbourhood (BMFSFJ 2012, p. 12).
Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) (Hrsg.) (2012): Wohnen für (Mehr)Generationen Gemeinschaft stärken – Quartier beleben: Praxisbeispiele zum gemeinschaftlichen und generationenübergreifenden Wohnen. 5. Auflage, BMFSFJ: Berlin. Abgerufen von https://www.bmfsfj.de/resource/blob/95546/7e8316d118d12a6e5f5cf5cf1a48c8e9/wohnen-fuer-generationen-data.pdf
BauNetz. (n.y.): Generationen-Wohnanlage in Vienna. Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.baunetzwissen.de/nachhaltig-bauen/objekte/wohnen/generationen-wohnanlage-in-Vienna-4043671
Praschl-Goodarzi Architekten ZT-GmbH (o.J.): Holzwohnbau – 1. Preis WB – Preisträger “gebaut 2013” – “Viennawood 15”.
Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.pgood.at/detail/holzbau-breitenfurterstrasse.html
Sargfabrik (2015a): Wohnen. Abgerufen am 09.06.2021 von https://www.sargfabrik.at/Home/Die-Sargfabrik/Wohnen