Preservation and development

Houses, flats, gardens, infrastructure: the transformation of the Maikäfersiedlung


What should be done when housing estates start to show their age and urgently need to be compacted and modernised? The Maikäfersiedlung in Munich – an over 12 hectare large area in the south of the city – is a prime example of the implementation of this urban challenge. In close cooperation with the housing association and the tenants, a lively urban quarter has been created over the last 10 years, a district characterised by its density and diversity. The urban masterplan for the estate from zillerplus architects laid the basis for the restructuring and its new buildings. The leitmotiv was always the improvement of the quality of life and living.

The starting point of the planning was a housing estate built in the 1930s, distinguished for its small kitchen gardens. The large number of ladybirds (German: Maikäfer) gave the estate its name shortly after it was completed. According to the new masterplan, which won a prize in the 2006 competition, the garden-city character of the quarter should be preserved as an outstanding quality. Only four underground stations away from Munich’s Central Station, a dense, inner-city housing area was created within a decade, retaining its character through a mixture of various blocks of flats and existing terrace houses, open spaces and traffic-calmed streets. In Bad-Schachener-Strasse, a new six-storey block designed by zillerplus architects marks the southern edge of the estate. This high, yellow building protects the centre of the estate from traffic noise and improves the infrastructure with tis retail shopping areas. Beneath the different new buildings, arranged in separate blocks and terraces and designed by various architects, are the underground garages for the inhabitants. The green open spaces between the buildings were preserved and opened to the public – they form the lively heart of the neighbourhood.

Anyone entering the Maikäfersiedlung today is struck by the many loggias, terraces, balconies and gardens that open up the flats to the green spaces. Despite the increase in demand for living space, there are just as many people living on the estate as when it was first built. Living quality and urban density do not have to be mutually exclusive. Sometimes they can work together to form a harmonious unity.

Project data


Development of the new Maikäfersiedlung, Munich

with Burkhardt Landschaftsarchitekten, München


GWG - Städtische Wohnungsgesellschaft München mbH (municipal housing society)


Competition 1st prize, 2001


12.4 HA, gross floor space, residential: 108,500 m², commerce and infrastructure: 3,500 m², 1,150 living units, floor-space ratio: 1.01

Architectural service:

HOAI B-Plan phases 1-4