The German Residential Compound in the Western part of Changchun accommodates around 400 German families. The high-end living community has been initiated in 2019 by the city government and the city’s biggest Employer FAW (First Automotive Works) in their efforts to firstly keep the existing group of German experts in the city, to improve their living conditions, and even attract new erman families to work and live in Changchun for a certain period of time.

Location
Changchun, Jilin Province / China
Client
Changchun Runde Real Estate Development Group Co.,LTD
Design Period
Aug. 2020 - May 2021
Gross Floor Area
49,970 sqm
Location  The compound is quite close to the working place of the addressed German residents, the FAW-Volkswagen car factory and R&D Centre, and it is also part of the much bigger so-called “Talent Industrial Park”. The overall urban planning of the entire – mainly residential – area has been done by RhineScheme starting from 2019 …

Location 

The compound is quite close to the working place of the addressed German residents, the FAW-Volkswagen car factory and R&D Centre, and it is also part of the much bigger so-called “Talent Industrial Park”. The overall urban planning of the entire – mainly residential – area has been done by RhineScheme starting from 2019 and has been approved in 2020.

The interior design is certainly only one, but an important key factor in the efforts to provide a second home for the addressed German families. Equally important is a specific range of services in the surrounding area (playgrounds and sports facilities, a German club, specific retail offers, international kindergarten and school) and the quality of the open space planning (designed by RhineScheme as well).

One of the biggest advantages of the location is its vicinity to the huge green areas of the “Auto Park” mentioned before which is only a stone’s throw away from the community gate. 

Task

Young families from Germany, invited by FAW-Volkswagen, will have the opportunity and chance to live in China for several years, in a foreign environment, but with the familiar amenities from home. Interior design, architecture, urban and landscape planning: none of them can solve and heal the problems which sometimes come along with living in the diaspora, in in a completely foreign environment and culture.

But at least a considerate planning can ease the difficulties in many ways: by creating a family environment that does not hinder to live the habits known from Germany, by urban and landscape planning that enables and stimulates the group contacts which are utmost necessary when having language barriers outside of the group.

The interior design uses this main concern of the planning (“create a second home”) as a story-chain to explore the typical characteristics of a modern German home environment and to create a neat, cozy, humane and warm space for family life. 

Design Approach 

The specific needs of the German families in Changchun have been explored in two rounds of interviews with Volkswagen managers that are responsible for expatriates’ coordination.

Apart from the mere technical requirements, a series of detailed wishes regarding the interiors were requested to be considered as follows:

  • High quality regarding materials and technical equipment
  • Solid construction regarding durability and easy maintenance
  • Open style, with bright and sunny interiors
  • Preference of duplex typology for the bigger apartments, in order to better separate functions and having space for privacy and retreat.

Our designers questioned: A young German family with typically two children under ten years old will come to China and live there for a few years. Which living habits from Germany do they want to keep under all circumstances, and how can these habits be re-created, re-invented or relocated? What is typically German anyway?

For the general design direction, some features have been formulated as basis:

Family-friendly | contemporary | timeless | warm in atmosphere | clear in design | creating an unmistakable living center that consists of cooking-dining-living. 

Design Concept

As a result, the interior design team has set a contemporary and simple tone for the indoor living space, pursuing richness in detail (and not superficial luxury) and showing elegance in simplicity. The design elements, colors, and materials have been simplified to a certain point, whereas the requirements for the texture of the materials are not compromised.

Open-plan layouts with flowing transitions between the kitchen, dining and living area create a generous sense of space. Light colours and materials create a pleasantly restrained setting for domestic life. The selected furniture design conveys a calm simplicity. The equally homely and lively atmosphere of the flats and their straightforward style not only communicate a modern understanding of living; they also help the Western experts to settle into a new environment with different culture.

An open kitchen where the family can cook and eat together shall boost the communication within the family: a place where the family meets in a casual way, where good and bad experiences are shared and where daily problems can be easily solved. A place where you can also meet friends, and celebrate: The kitchen is the open core and the social center of the apartment.

Beside the kitchen you will find an inviting living room that is convenient for sitting and reading, chatting and relaxing, and a dining table that is not only suitable for eating, but also for work and play…

In the end these simple but essential characteristics will help the German families to continue their accustomed lifestyles, to relax from pressure and from abundant impressions, and to enjoy the comfort of their new home in China, … and by that find a new home abroad.

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Apartment Sizes
304 apartments, 4 types between 110 sqm - 230 sqm
Scope of Service
Interior Schematic Design and continuous consultation during construction
Interior Design Team
Susanne Brandherm, Andreas Jacob, Livia Chan
Overall Project Management
Fan Zhang, Wolf Loebel, Ran Li, Jinyan Li, Ning Shi