Press reviews about the old building 5074

GWW Wernigerode presents drafts for the new Kastanienwäldchen for the first time

Otmar Alt: Forget about convenient and easy

by Tom Koch / Volksstimme Magdeburg as of 17 December, 2009

Wernigerode. Those who think Otmar Alt has bats in the belfry are totally right: his bat is a bright yellow bird with a brilliant red beak, wearing fancy back and tail feathers. This figure is only one of many details of a façade designed in Alt’s style. The east side of the prefab apartment built in Burgbreite in 1974 will be designed on the basis of this draft. The concept of the internationally renowned artist involves the complete design of the 80 m long building “Am Kastanienwäldchen”. Rainer Schulze made contact with the 69-year-old Alt, who is originally from Wernigerode as is well known. It is a contact between art winners, and between recipients of the Federal Cross of Merit.

GWW manager Kirsten Fichtner and Otmar Alt, holding the draft for the façade of the apartment houses “Am Kastanienwäldchen 2-10”.

Photograph: Volksstimme / Tom Koch

The GWW will renovate this prefab building until summer of 2011, which has long been the home of 50 families. “There are two major challenges that we have to meet, climate change and an ageing society”, manager Kirsten Fichtner declared. The 4.3 million Euros project – the most expensive project since the GWW was founded – is an attempt at reacting on the most urgent problems of humanity.

Bearing this in mind in the realization of this construction project is “our goal”. The apartment house is not “only” renovated but rather turns into a whole new building instead. Its insulation and heating and ventilation system result in an energy consumption reduced by 30 percent compared to a new building (Volksstimme reported). Additionally, the former 50 big apartments will turn into 74 smaller apartments – for Senior citizens or single persons, who account for one third of the population after all, says Fichtner.

The design concept for the facade of the new Kastanienwäldchen building was presented yesterday for the first time. Otmar Alt definitely expects contradiction: “My colors might need getting used to for some people. But let me tell you: forget about anything that is convenient and easy.”

GWW plans an extraordinary building project at Burgbreite

A colorful prefab with only little need for energy 

by Tom Koch / Volksstimme as of 1 December, 2009

The apartment house that is being built at Burgbreite is worth 4.3 million Euros – and it is one of a kind: the GWW project is extraordinary due to its future low energy demand or the larger number of balconies. But it is also striking on the outside: Otmar Alt, winner of the Wernigerode art prize, is responsible for the design of this “plattenbau”.

Wernigerode. “Otmar Alt colors up his home town” was the headline of Volksstimme almost exactly five years ago. At that time, Alt’s exhibition in the art and culture organization was titled like this. However, certainly nobody would have guessed: things are getting colorful now. Alt, who was awarded the Wernigerode art prize in 2005, designed the design concept for a prefab uilding in the residential area of Burgbreite.

A solemn opening start for an extraordinary project will be carried out on 16 December, says Kirsten Fichtner. The manager of Gebäude- und Wohnungsbaugesellschaft (GWW) announced in an interview with Volksstimme that the building project, which is extraordinary in many ways, is to be completed by September, 2011.

Otmar Alt colors up his home town

The desolate balcony cladding, “empty”, that is uncurtained windows and mighty stickers allover the mail slots send a clear signal: “Nobody lives here anymore!" The 50 foru-room apartments at Am Kastanienwäldchen 2 to 10 are empty. Their tenants abandoned some of them months ago, while the GWW manager spoke to other residents in person to explain why they better move out …

Now there is freedom to build, all plans have been approved and Fichtner is proud of a project she calls “a lighthouse for the GWW”. The prefab building, built in 1975, is to be transformed into a low-energy building Platte. Levels are high: KfW 70 denotes undercutting the standards of a new building (KfW 100) by 30 percent. An appropriately improved insulation and an efficient heating system are to ensure that such a “KfW efficiency building 70” consumes about one third less than a new building according to current energy savings regulations. These expenses result in favorable credit conditions at the state KfW bank, and in an investment grant. As the credit conditions have long been set to ten years, Kirsten Fichtner is able to name the rent before the renovation has even started: 5.50 Euros per square meter (basic rent).

The head of GWW came up with the plan for the project when she heard of the re-structuring of such buildings in Berlin. Even GDR plattenbau could thus achieve modern environmental standards, as the supervisory board made sure of in Friedrichshain. The building owner is sure of one thing: a heating system fed by district heating with controlled air intake and exhaust air systems for all apartments will be able to regain warmth from this air and thus reduce heating costs.

However, this project is not a solution for all housing blocks.

Re-structuring will result in turning 50 big to 74 smaller apartments with one or two rooms. Its key feature: all apartments have an own balcony. As people in Wernigerode are becoming older as well, the installation of a new elevator in this block is part of the building project as well. Kirsten Fichtner grants that 4.3 million Euros is very expensive; therefore, the project is no panacea for all prefab buildings of the GWW.

Nevertheless, the GWW intends to make a mark at Burgbreite. This includes the design of the façades of this almost-new building, which the internationally renowned artist Otmar Alt has fortunately accepted to perform. He gave his “Kunstschlecker” (“art-licker”) to Wernigerode. As has been said before: Alt colors up everything.




Platz des Friedens 6
38855 Wernigerode

Phone: 0 39 43 / 2 10 02
Fax:     0 39 43 / 2 10 80

E-Mail: info@gww-wr.de



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