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German Student Micro Living


German Student Micro Living

Paul McAneary Architects were appointed to provide accommodation for 5000 students across Germany on city centre sites from Kiel in the north to Munich in the south. The aim of the project is to remodel and adapt existing redundant buildings of the post-war era in an efficient and economical manner.

Each building is stripped back to its structural frame and effectively redesigned. Borrowing techniques from yacht design, in which function is paramount and space standards squeezed to an absolute minimum, bedroom are compactly but ingeniously planned. Though necessarily small, at 10 sqm per unit, bedrooms are augmented by more generous areas of communal space to encourage social interaction.

Within each unit, the considered application of design techniques such as shadow gaps, lighting and mirrors mitigates the compressed scale to create a highly civilised environment for studying and sleeping. Through the use of 150 mm shadow gaps, furniture appears to ‘float’ off the floor, and the furniture itself draws inspiration from classic Bauhaus models with elegant metal frames, so rooms are not dominated by bulky furniture.

Materials are carefully selected to require minimal maintenance and actually improve with use and age. Taking advantage of prefabrication, bathrooms are modular pods, with a simple plumbing connection that slots quickly and neatly into each unit. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value £350M
Location Kiel, Bremen, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Germany
Client DREF
Date 2014-2017
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, furniture design, 3D visualisation, Creation of Design Brand Manual for Design Implementation

Kazakhstan Housing



Kazakhstan Housing

Oil rich Kazakhstan is capitalising on its wealth to engage in ambitious programmes of architecture and infrastructure. For foreign architects working in this rapidly developing country the challenge is to produce work that can act as an exemplar to uplift local standards of design and construction. The other challenge is the climate: Astana, the Kazakh capital, experiences temperature extremes of -40C° in winter rising to 30C° in summer.

Paul McAneary Architects were commissioned to design a luxury apartment in a new build block for a couple working in the oil industry. The arrangement and proportion of rooms reflects their love of entertaining and their elite status within Astana’s social milieu. A large entrance hallway with an aquarium greets visitors, with a decompression zone for removing coats and boots, essential in the winter. The main living room contains a large area for formal dining and a video viewing space. A sculpture defines the axis through the apartment. Sliding doors can be used partition off spaces, or be left open to create a more open plan atmosphere.

A secondary dining room for more informal gatherings has an intimate niche for coffee drinking furnished with padded window seats. A fully equipped back-of-house kitchen services both dining rooms. All of the three large bedrooms are en-suite. The master bedroom contains generous walk-in wardrobes and a home office, while the guest bedroom connects with a small open balcony. Materials and detailing have a signature finesse. White walls and white oiled floorboards anchor a polished, minimal palette. To achieve the require standard of detailing and finishes, the project required intensive supervision and management during the construction phase, a feat made more complex by geographical distance and cultural differences. However, the experience paid off and has expanded Paul McAneary Architects skill set, showing how the practice is able to deliver a complex residential interior for a discerning client at some remove from its usual sphere of operations. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Private
Location Kazakhstan
Client Private
Date 2013
Area m2
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design, interior design, lighting design, glazing design, landscape design, survey, building control, 3D visualisation

African Nearly Zero Housing



African Nearly Zero Housing

In the Nigerian capital Abuja, Paul McAneary Architects were commissioned to design three different housing types: a single house, block of flats and a terrace. The aim is to make use of abundant but disregarded materials, such as stone and tropical hardwood, and cultivate a strategy of passive environmental control and ‘near zero’ energy use.

Residential development in Nigeria is characterised by a dependence on inappropriate and wasteful models more suited to a temperate European climate. By responding more thoughtfully to context and climate, this radical project reconceptualises the existing approach to housing provision in a way that could act as a prototype for future development across Nigeria.

Quarried stone, which would more usually be used in road building, is caged in steel gabions to form massive external walls. Tropical hardwood, traditionally used to make concrete formwork and then discarded, is salvaged to make external elements, such as window frames. Boreholes provide a natural source of water, which also helps to cool the interior, while hot air is dispelled through the stack effect, rising through the central atrium of each dwelling.

These natural means of ventilation and cooling sever the reliance on energy-wasteful air conditioning. Communal solar power plants provide energy, supplanting profligate diesel generators. [By Catherine Slessor]

Contract Value Undisclosed
Location Abuja, Nigeria, Africa
Client Undisclosed
Date Current
Area Undisclosed
Design Team Paul McAneary Architects
Design Service From design concept to detailed design,  interior design, landscape design, structural design, 3D visualisation