Retirement Home ‘St. Katharina Labouré’ in Unterhaching

The new building for the St. Katharina Labouré Care and Retirement Residence in Unterhaching near Munich, finished in Spring of 2022, fits in perfectly with the surrounding park landscape. The three-storey construction is varied thanks to overhanging balconies that offer sun and privacy protection with vertical slats, and on the other hand allow views to the outside. Customer and architects were looking for a material with a warm wooden look. For both deck floorings on the balconies, as well as for the privacy shield slats the decision was made to use NATURinFORM’s durable wood composite material. On a total of 1,070 square metres the ‘brushed sand’ version of the massive COMPACT deck was laid; for privacy and sun protection, the Bavarian producer delivered 8,700 running metres of the profile CONSTRUCTIVE in ‘light brown’.

Patio decks + sun protection
COMPACT in brushed sand as massive deck
CONSTRUCTIVE in light brown as sun protection

Type of construction
New Construction

Building owner
Barmherzige Schwestern vom hl. Vinzenz von Paul, Mutterhaus Munich

Construction year

Balcony and sun protection Retirement Home ‘St Katharina Labouré’
Biberger Straße 8, 82008 Unterhaching, Germany

The Care and Retirement Home’s history starts in 1924 when an agricultural holding was bought, at first to supply the congregation of the ‘Barmherzige Schwestern’, the Sisters of Charity, and their institutions with food, as well as for the nuns’ recreation. From 1967 a retirement home for nurses was located on site, which was later transformed into a public Care and Retirement Home. In September 2020 the foundations were laid for the new Home St. Katharina Labouré, which was completed in March 2022 – as a ‘Place where people can live well, be accompanied and looked after – a place where all that work can do so well and have an effect,’ describes General Superior Sister Maria Rosa Dick.

Shared accommodation instead of a Care Home

‘We received the order to plan a Care and Retirement Home for around 100 residents,’ reports Simon Baumann, architect at the SAI Schleburg Generalplanungs GmbH, situated in Rosenheim  and responsible for the project. The architectural office works throughout Germany and is one of the largest between Munich and Salzburg with around 30 employees. For over 70 years the team of experts has been covering the complete range of architectonic tasks.
Ideally, the individual areas were to be divided into residence groups of 12, if possible, and each group was to have a kitchen and its own communal room ‘with the characteristics of shared accommodation and not of a traditional care home,’ says Baumann. It was possible to divide the given number of residents into eight groups. They are now housed in the three wings of the building that are all connected to a central building in which management is situated and from which there is access to the individual resident groups. A challenge during construction was that a part of the existing building had to be demolished first before it was possible to start constructing the new building.

Three-storey new build using solid construction

The new building consisting of three storeys built in massive construction with reinforced concrete and brickwork, consists of a central area, three side wings, as well as on the East side a chapel adjoining via a corridor. The North wing and the central area are built with a cellar. On the ground floor are the publicly accessible areas, such as the chapel, cafeteria, multipurpose room, as well as communal rooms for special uses, delivery and offices. The reinforced bracing concrete walls were cladded using an insulated façade made of tiles. Throughout the complete construction hardly any oil-based insulation was used. The two metre deep, overhanging balconies that serve as lounges and as sun protection are structurally unique. The building, constructed according to KfW55-Standard, is heated via the district’s heating system; ventilation was only installed in the areas necessary. All entrances and exits, including the balconies, were made without any threshold (O-sill), reducing any restrictions for those living there to a minimum. The general contractor Grossmann Bau GmbH & Co. KG received the order for the Care and Retirement Home. As one of the oldest and largest building companies in the area around Rosenheim, Grossmann has expert knowledge in structural engineering.

Balconies as a connecting space between indoors and outdoors

The modern building complex fits in perfectly with the surrounding park landscape thanks to its open, delicate façade. The balconies wrapped around the building create a joint between indoors and outside. ‘A functional and also design defining role is played by the privacy and sun protection slats, which enhance the façade with an exciting irregularity. On the one hand, the slats on the balconies present a kind of closed volume, but on the other hand, they allow those inside to look and see outside,’ says Simon Baumann.

Wood composite materials prevailed against wood

At the beginning of the planning stage the architectural office and customer wished to use wood on and attached to the balconies – both as flooring, but also for privacy and sun protection. In the end, the wood composite material’s typical attributes were compelling. ‘Experience has shown that wood is far worse regarding durability and maintenance in areas exposed to weathering, such as facades, when compared to wood composite material,’ says Baumann. On the other hand, the aspect of user safety is an important point for the decks, as in comparison to wood the modern material does not splinter: There is no danger that residents will be injured by splinters.

Sun profile CONSTRUCTIVE for sun/privacy protection slats

NATURinFORM delivered a total of 8,700 running metres of its profile CONSTRUCTIVE in ‘light brown’ for the sun and privacy protection elements: as the customer wished even-surfaced on all four sides, without any stamping and not brushed. For the balconies on the first and second floor 215 visible slats measuring 1.25 x 2.70 metres were made, for the ground floor 80, each 1.25 x 3.20 metres. CONSTRUCTIVE with its natural wooden grain and material width of 38 millimetres can be used very versatilely. Due to its plain surface, it has a natural and sophisticated appearance.
First of all, premanufactured frames made of flat steel were delivered to the construction site, into which the carpentry Wagner from Prien attached the profile measuring 38 x 100 millimetres using screws. The thus pre-assembled sun protection elements were then mounted onto the façade’s steel construction. ‘Producing the privacy shield was a first for us,’ remembers Martin Wagner. Until then he had only known the wood composite material on balcony and patio floors. The master carpenter and certified building technician founded his company in 1996 and offers a large range of services – from wooden houses, facades, roof structures and windows, as well as balconies, conservatories, patios and carports, right up to outer stairs, fences, construction engineering, insulation and interior fittings. The company is made up of one master, seven qualified carpenters, and three apprentices.

The colour for the slats was recommended by the architectural office, sampled by the producer, and in the end approved by the building owner. ‘Processing the material was slightly more demanding than wood, due to the high raw density,’ Martin Wagner sums up. Therefore, using screws was a little bit more difficult. But using the screws recommended by the producer meant that processing went very quickly.

Massive COMPACT deck laid on the balconies

On a total of 1,070 square metres the deck surface COMPACT was laid on the balconies. These in turn rest on a steel sub-construction, onto which in a first step a 40-millimetre thick three-layer-board made of solid pine wood was mounted. The next level consists of a protective membrane, a seal, and as a protective layer for the seal a sheet of rubber granules.
‘Originally adjustable feet were intended, but the installation height proved to be too low. Therefore, we had to change our plans,’ remembers Martin Wagner. Together with Naturinform’s technician it was decided on site to use synthetic pads to level out the height. After that the team of six people working for Wagner laid the aluminium profiles delivered by the producer and in the end attached the massive decks using clips.

COMPACT: Maintenance-free, weatherproof and safe

The points maintenance-free, weather resistance and especially safety, or respectively slip resistance are very high in demand, most certainly for public buildings. By choosing COMPACT in Unterhaching, a flooring was decided upon that ensures a safe grip, even when it is damp or wet. As a surface there is a finely striated side, or block strips to choose from, both are brushed to provide higher grip and slip resistance. A further advantage:  Unlike wood, surfaces made of wood composite material do not splinter. At a length of up to a maximum of 13 metres, a thickness of 21 millimetres and thanks to its two different surfaces, both suitable for use, COMPACT can be used versatilely. It is available in the standard lengths of 3,4,5 and 6 metres; special lengths between 2 and 13 metres are also possible.

Profile for sustainable outdoor surfaces and profiles

NATURinFORM is the expert for outdoor surfaces and profiles. Wood composite materials are produced on site in Upper Franconian Redwitz an der Rodach: a material that combines the optical characteristics of traditional construction timber with the durability of a technical polymer. During production the wood fibres are combined in such a way with an environmentally-friendly, thermoplastic polymer, that covers each individual fibre like a protective coating. As the polymer itself is completely water-repellant, it is not possible for water to penetrate the finished deck. Climate protection and resource protection are very important for Naturinform. In wood composite production they only use wooden fibres from domestic and sustainable forestry (PEFC-certified wood suppliers). No additional trees are felled, as the wood fibres are a by-product of the woodprocessing industry. This makes the material an extremely environmentally- and climate friendly product that is, in addition, recyclable by 100 %. After utilisation, the decks are taken back by the company if possible and fed back into the production process.

There are environmental product declarations according to international standards available (EPDs) for all of NATURinFORM’s decks and façade profiles. All products are continuously monitored by quality controls and stress tests, to guarantee a constant perfect and first-class wood composite quality. The company provides a five-year guarantee on its products.

Download: Press Release
Product information: compact