MVRDV - Franklin Mitte

Franklin Mitte

MVRDV’s plans for the revitalisation of a former US army barracks will welcome a new era for the Franklin Mitte neighbourhood. This 41-hectare site will be homely and offer mixed typologies and developments; it is set to include a central ‘hub’, a green hill made from demolished barracks buildings offering a panoramic view of the new developments, housing within it a programme of shops, restaurants, cafes and community spaces. 

“How does one form a family of residential towers? says Maas, ‘In Franklin Mitte’, we will create a fine-grained extremely homely and cosy neighbourhood with a central hill that is both a park and shopping centre. The HOME towers signal a welcoming suggestion. Especially needed in these days of doubt. Mannheim is an ambitious city with a strong social agenda, the site is currently occupied by 10,000 refugees, I find that impressive and to be honest, quite touching.’

’The letters H-O-M-E offered the perfect solution for creating a shape that was both symbolic and could also provide the required housing needed. Around each building is a plaza created in the shape of the projected shadow of the letter, its size determined by local regulations that call for a certain distance between neighbouring buildings. This imprint of the letter cuts through both old and new buildings, juxtaposing the site’s rigid history with these contemporary structures.

The letters signal the neighbourhood’s change and the English word 'HOME' has been chosen for three reasons:

1. Inviting for all new residents.
2. Remembering the site's American heritage.
3. Symbolising how Mannheim’s city grid was built as a welcoming place a for all, despite language or religion.

MVRDV designs for two of the Towers, the ‘O’, 12,380m2 containing 120 apartments, and the ‘M’ 17,890m2, due to an extra ‘leg’, 185 apartments sees each consisting of different sized pixel-type apartments with varying balcony sizes. The M tower has an activated roof with tennis courts, whilst the lower levels of the O, form a public stage with roofs and tribunes leading up from the ground level. This design allows for individual adaptation suited to the needs of residents giving them a more flexible use of space.


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