Residential quarter Franklin in Mannheim

Currently a new superlative quarter is being developed in Mannheim, with a surface of 114 hectare the largest construction area in Baden-Wuerttemberg. One of the Federal Republic’s most important developmental projects will have fully transformed the former Franklin barracks by 2025: Living space for 8,000 people, as well as offices, supermarkets, schools and kindergardens are being created. On the balconies and roof gardens of 100 appartments in the Abraham-Lincoln-Allee a total of 750 square metres of wood composite decks by the Bavarian producer Naturinform have been laid.

Patio decks
Smart in grey

Construction year

INGENIUM Residential quarter, Abraham Lincoln Allee 22, 68309 Mannheim

In 2015, the MWS Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft, a project development group founded by the town of Mannheim, purchased the former barracks from the Federal Agency for RealEstate, the Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (BImA) and developed a modern and sustainable quarter on the site – with a developmental volume of 230 million Euros. Franklin barrack‘s innovative energy concept is a role model, bringing together buildings and mobility infrastructure. Cars powered by electricity will be able to recharge their batteries in multi-storey car parks using electricity from waste heat. Many of the buildings will also create energy for themselves: Among others by using renovated and existing buildings with photovoltaic systems. At a so-called mobility point, residents will in future have the option between different mobility offers – bus, car-sharing and bicycle. There by Mannheim is supporting sustainable energe supply and mobility free from emissions. The quarter offers room for different living models. Besides rental and freehold apartments from 30 to 200 square metres, there is also space for communal projects.Countless green areas, sports facilities and an arena make up 60 percent of the site. Restaurants, trade shops and ateliers will contribute to a lively environment in the new quarter. As a reminder of the 60 years of American presence in Mannheim, the quarter will keep the name ‚Franklin‘.

Patios and balconies: Investor decided on wood composite material

Construction started in the spring of 2016. The American forces gave up a total of 5 sites in Mannheim. Investor evohaus GmbH, headed by HANEN architects from Karlsruhe, created the INGENIUM living quarters on the Abraham-Lincoln-Allee, embedded in the Sullivan Park with a size of more than 10 football pitches. This residential area directly next to the centre was devised in such a way that there are only gardens, green areas and footpaths between the buildings. All vehicles are easily accessible underground in the parking arcade. Anything needed on a daily basis is available for residents in the shopping centre ‚Franklin-Mitte‘. Kindergardens and schools, as well as bus stops for public transport, are conveniently and quickly reachable. When it was time to decide on flooring for the patios, balconies and roof gardens for the 100 residential units on four floors, the investor chose wood composite material decks. Franconian producer Naturinform was awarded the contract and they delivered a total of 750 square metres of their ‚Smart’ range in grey to the construction site.

The decks were laid by Grewe Heitmann Garten(t)räume GmbH from Ladenburg. The company, specialist for landscaping, was founded in 2005, and today has 25 employees that implement garden projects ranging from small front gardens to generous parks throughout the Rhine-Neckar area. Originally, HANEN architects had been looking to work with decks from another producer. „But in this project there were balconies and patios that made it impossible, or at least pointless to create a slant,“ says Stefan Krug, construction manager at Grewe Heitmann. With the decks that were intended, you would have had to have a slant of 2 percent, which would have meant that we would have encountered problems with height differences between doors and the facade drains.

Naturinform’s ‚Smart’ on the other hand, requires no slant, as water can run off easily thanks to the slightly curved surface, says the trained landscaper and registered landscape conservationist who has been working in construction and calculation in landscaping for more than 30 years and has been at Grewe Heitmann since 2017. His employees have had longer term experience with ‚wood composite material‘, but they hadn’t worked with ‚Smart’ before, which not only has the ‚zero degree advantage‘, but also a very positive weight. Therefore he could easily win over investor and architect for this deck surface. „Apart from the fact that the surface is curved, meaning that the surface needn’t be laid at a slant, the immensely lighter weight in comparison to concrete slabs for example, was very convincing,“ says Maximilian Roth, who has been construction manager with evohaus since 2015. „And then of course the look and design ofthe wood composite material made it an easy choice for us.“

Thanks to the click-principle for the underlying construction and the simple application onto the stilt support the construction site team coud process the material in a clean a quick manner. 99 percent of the surface were already finished by autumn of last year. A few weeks ago the patio oft he last apartment, that had not been sold by then, received its flooring, although there had already been a decision made for porcelain stoneware, this floor was also covered with Naturinform’s solid decks.

Intelligent design, timeless elegance and practical characteristics

The zero-degree solid deck ‚Smart’ developed by the producer from Redwitz an der Rodach, is a product that is extremely easy to take care of. Due to a slight curve, water can automatically run off, meaning that the material can be laid on patios and balconies without any slant at all. The surface supports this effect andprevents water building up after rain or cleaning. Because of its surface structure ‚Smart’ is – as all of the producer’s deck ranges – non-slippery and barefoot friendly. The zero degree solid deck combines a low weight with the advantages of a high-quality solid deck and is convincing thanks to its high stability. It is available in grey – as used in Mannheim – but also in brown and anthracite. With a thickness of 19 millimetres and a width of 140 millimetres, it is available in standard lengths of 3, 4, 5, and 6 metres, as well as in special lengths from 2 to 13 metres.

Practical, beautiful, sustainable, and can be recycled

Naturinform’s patio decks are a natural construction material. They are made up of ca. 70 % wood fibres. The other 30 % are made up of an environmentally-friendly polymer (thermoplastic binding agent). As a a wood composite material both components are melted together under pressure and at a temperature and there by retain their natural characteristics. The combination of wood and polymer makes the patio decks splinter free and barefoor friendly. Further advantages are resistance to damp, easy to clean, form stability, sturdiness, as well as resistance to fungal or insect infestation.

Completely environmentally friendly

Naturinform produces all decks strictly ecologically. No trees are felled for them. Only wood flour from saw mills is used here. This is PEFC certified wood from ecologically farmed forestry, no tropical wood is contained. The glue’s organic component is environmentally friendly polyethylene. In contrast to standard wood, Naturinform’s decks need no environmentally harming chemicals for maintenance, and no fungicides or pesticides are used during production. Additionally, the patio decks can be recycled 100 % and can be returned to the plant in Bavarian Redwitz for that purpose.

Download: Press release
Product information: Smart