Building in wood in Munich
Is it still affordable today in Vienna?
In our research project we try to learn from the example of others. For that we have visited different projects in Germany, because the Germans use similar rules with regard to building in wood as what we apply in our project in Vienna. The ecological model settlement of the Prinz Eugen Park in Munich, encompasses one third of the in total 1.800 apartments that are to be realized there.
Buildings in the settlement at Prinz Eugen Park. Foto: Vis-à-Wien
Prices have risen enormously in the few years that passed since the houses we saw in Munich were completed. We heard different answers to the question how much prices have gone up: 35%, 50%? Some say that wood prices in Bavaria have not changed much since 2020 and as a result it is getting cheaper compared to other building materials. Wood prices are more determined by market forces than by the amount of trees. The price of pallets, for instance, goes up with the gas prices, because of a higher demand for it with the same supply of wood. In December 2022 – when contractors do their bid – we will get an idea what price we will have to pay for our wooden building. We are quite worried.
For the time being it seems that wood construction is not really affordable without some kind of subsidy. In Munich this subsidy differed per price sector: in the private sector 70 cent of subsidy is given for each kilo of wood applied, while that is 2 euro in the social housing. This Munich subsidy related to the amount of wood applied. This amount is calculated in kilo, in a formula for which no expert advice is needed. The architects can compare construction alternatives (and subsidy) with a fairly simple calculation. Within a few hours of walking around we got a feeling for it. A complete wooden building has at least 200 kilo of wood per square meter net living space. If the ground floor and staircases are made of another material, there can still be in between 120 and 150 kilo of wood per square meter net living space.
Things are confusing though: You cannot see so quickly what houses are “wooden”. Some of the examples we have visited had a high number of these wood kilos. Still they look fairly unspectacular, because they have plaster on the outer façade. The other way around, an outside with nice wooden panels may be hiding a construction with little or no wood at all.
Apartment block in the ecological part of the Prinz Eugen Park in Munich. To keep grip on the prices of this building, the façade was plastered. Still it is a hybrid construction with an impressive amount of 168 kg of wood/m2 net surface.
Excursion key data:
Prinz Eugen Park Munich, Germany (“Kleiner Prinz”, Mustersiedlung, WA14-16)
hr2 Architekten, Prof. H.-P. Hebensperger-Hüther, Nadine Kölmel, Ulf Rössler, Dressler Mayerhofer Rössler