Krochsiedlung (Kroch's housing estate) (1929)

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#Housing estate #Leipzig #1929

Architects

Paul Emmerich, Max Fricke, Johannes Koppe, Paul Mebes, Adolf Muesmann

Developers

Hans Kroch

Address and directions

Beyerleinstraße, Borkumer Weg, Helgoländer Weg, Juister Weg, Landsberger Straße, Max-Liebermann-Straße Nordeneyer Weg, Wangerooger Weg
04157 Leipzig, Germany

Public transport: Landsberger/Max-Liebermann-Straße Tram 4, Bus 90

Today's use: Apartments

This housing estate was planned to be the largest in the time of Weimar Republic in Germany.

Description

1018 flats in four different types of houses were finished. The biggest flats with four bed rooms have a living space of maximum 80 square metres, the smaller with two bedroom apartments 50 square metres. Each architect was able to plan his own flat sections. Mebes & Emmerich and Adolf Muesmann developed flats with four rooms, Max Fricke and Johannes Koppe, which are the architects of the two interior blocks, designed flats with three rooms. Very untypical in comparison with other apartment buildings of that time, that no attics and classical cellars were built. When visiting the settlement, it is noticeable that the most of the paths are lower on the eastern side of the blocks and the meadows next to it much higher. This saved money for a deeper excavation. Wash houses and storage rooms (called the cellars) were built in the basement floors instead of cellars. At the top of the houses the flat roofs were all built with a pumice blocks by the company Philipp Holzmann A.-G., a new material in the building industry at the time. All houses are masoned.

The Krochsiedlung was planned according to the newest trends as an open area. The architects did not use closed blocks and it might be interpreted as an invitation to walk from all sides into and through the housing estate with its inner courtyards.

The four rows of blocks were designed by the four architects respectively by the architectural office. The four rows differ in their architectural structure; they all have different doors, windows and balconies or loggias. However, all flats are designed with a balcony or loggia. All the houses have the staircases on the east side and the balconies and loggias on the west side and in some houses also on the south side.

The southern row along Max-Liebermann-Str. and the western row from the junction of Landsberger-Str./Max-Liebermann-Str. along Landsberger Str. to Beyerleinstr. were built by Mebes & Emmerich. The following, inner row of blocks towards the north were designed by Max Fricke. This is followed by the the 3rd row of blocks by Johannes Koppe. To the north is the 4th row of blocks by Adolf Muesmann. The paths in the south-north direction were always slightly offset, except between the 3rd and 4th row. That might soften the overall picture of the housing estate.

We present the four different house types in detail, ordered from south to north.

The southern row along Max-Liebermann-Str. and the four western blocks along Landsberger Str. were built by Mebes & Emmerich. The southern and western blocks have the staircases on the east side. The original metal window frames have been preserved. On the west side are the loggias. On Max-Liebermann-Str., the last loggias are located at the south-western corner of the blocks, resulting in an interesting rhythmisation of the architecture.

On the west side along Landsberger Str., the four blocks are intersected in the middle by Nordernayer Weg. This results in a small gateway situation leading from Landsberger Str. into the inner parts of the house estate. The four western blocks are offset from each other giving this part of the housing estate a light touch.

Max Fricke used for his houses in the 2nd row a very striking design for the entrances. The staircases are less highlighted than the ones from Mebes & Emmerich.

Walking along the north-south paths, immediately the loggias of the 3rd row of blocks from Johannes Koppe are catching the eyes. These loggias are situated on the southwestern façade, most of them at the western part of the houses. The make probably those blocks the most stylish of the entire housing estate.

The 2nd and 3rd row have in common a small building in the north facing west, whose staircases were designed to face north.

All three house types from Mebes & Emmerich, Max Fricke and Johannes Koppe have balconies or loggias on the west sides and these protrude from the façade base. On the east sides of all these houses in the first three rows are the staircases, which also protrude architecturally.

In the 4th row to the north, no loggias were placed in front of the buildings, but within the basic form of the house but balconies were connected to the kitchen. The staircases also did not get a resalit-like structure, like the other three types of houses. The blocks of the 4th row by Adolf Muesmann are the simplest of all in terms of their external appearance.

Very progressive for the time was the fact that the entire complex was supplied by seven heating plants. They were arranged between the blocks and were fuelled with coke from hard coal. Since hard coal was not available for the Soviet occupation zone after the war, a central power plant was built in 1947 on the north-eastern edge of the settlement. It was fuelled by lignite, available in rough quantities on the territory of the GDR. This heating plant has been preserved in ruins. Today's heating plant stands next to it.

In comparison with other Leipzig housing estates, rents in the Krochsiedlung were about a third higher than the average rent. The price of a three bed room apartment 85 Reichmarks, of a four bed room apartment 100 Reichsmarks. That is why mostly people from the middle class lived here.

Between the blocks on the south side are single-storey buildings that house(d) shops.

 

History

The housing estate Krochsiedlung in the north of Leipzig was planned in 1928 with 4500 flats for up to 15,000 tenants. It would have become the largest housing estate in the time of Weimar Republic. Additionally were planned a central square, a school and a social centre, but none of these were realised.

Famous architects of Berlin modernism, such as Otto Rudolf Salvisberg, were asked to do the planning. Even Le Corbusier was addressed, but he declined.

The first prize won the architectural office Mebes & Emmerlich from Berlin. Together with the architects Max Fricke, Johannes Koppe and Adolf Muesmann they designed the housing estate.

A major shareholder of the developer company A.-G. für Haus und Wohnbesitz was Hans Kroch, which is why the settlement is called Krochsiedlung and its official name, Wohnstadt der A.-G. für Haus und Wohnbesitz is never mentioned. Hans Kroch determined that the work begun in September 1929 would have to be stopped in the autumn of 1930 due to the world economic crisis. In the end, the developer "Leipziger A.-G. für Haus- und Grundbesitz im Norden" built less houses.

On this website are some historical pictures and a plan showing how the settlement was actually planned. The realised buildings are the lower left quarter.

With the modernisations from 1991 to 2000, the windows with wooden frames were replaced by plastic-framed windows and the facades were insulated. It was no attention paid to the aesthetics of the original architecture. Especially the choice of plastic cladding on the loggias is detrimental to the architecture. The loggias can be seen as an architectural dominance of the houses. Their inferiority lowers the value of the architecture of these houses.

In 2020, a construction project called "Kroch-Quartier" began to the east of the settlement with two houses that roughly adopt the design features of the Krochsiedlung. They stand on the site where the continuation of the settlement in an easterly direction was originally planned.

Construction types
masoned
Facades
plaster Insulation board
Windows
casement
Roof
flat
Details
balcony winter garden
Position
along a street with/in a garden periphere/neighbourhood
Storeys
4

Impressions

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