Design: Nanyang Plaza


The terrain in the proximity of Lanhua Street is about 4 km from downtown Jincheng and is one of the key future urban development zones. It is the site of a multi-functional building complex that offers diverse venues for cultural activities, tradeshows, conferences, tourism as well as retail, a recreational park as well as residential space. Nanyang Plaza is located on the intersection of Binchuan Road and Taiyue Street. To the west, it is bordered by an urban green zone and to the south by the Huayuantou Water Park.

The Nanyang Plaza complex stands 100 m tall and provides a total of 55,000 m2 of floor space. It comprises 27 floors and 2 basements.
The building comprises three parts:
Basement level 1 through the 4th floor accommodate commercial space; while the 5th through the 16th floor are occupied by larger scale offices and the 17 through 27th floor house small offices.

From an architectural perspective, the buildings have been constructed in different heights but as a single building complex. They stand tall and appear to be agile, simple yet strong and thanks to the trapezoid shape of the roof, the buildings look like a group of transparent crystals.

Depending on the lighting required for the room functions, two different types of building materials have been used for the façade: standard glass and anti-reflective glass. These two types of glass have been used systematically so that the transitions between the different components are seamless.

The characteristics of these types of glass give the buildings different looks during the daytime and at night. In the daylight, thanks to the reflections from the sky, the anti-reflective glass appears to be lighter while the standard glass in the narrow windows seems to be darker. In the evenings, the anti-reflective glass looks dark from the outside, while the interior light passes through the narrow windows finished in standard glass and creates a vertical band of light. The rays of light further enhance this effect that fall through the angular tip of the roof from the top. The entire ensemble appears to be as bright as a crystal, assuming a symbolic and expressive function.


Design: Administration Center Changde


The Chinese description “Three mountains, three bodies of water” captures the distinct geographic landmarks of the Changde region most aptly: the Taiyang Mountain, the De Mountain, the Hefu Mountain, the Yuan River, the Chuanzi River and the Liuye Lake. The planners intend to use the elements of three mountains and three bodies of water to create a tectonic environment. The aim is to consider the mountains, rivers and lakes of the Taoyuan Circle of Changde an ideal state and to establish a foundation for the harmonious interaction between humans and nature as well as human and humans. As part of this deep commitment, a new kind of office complex is slated to pave the way for this project.

According to the teachings of Feng Shui, a building may represent a mountain. The architectural plans intertwine bodies of water and architectural structures whose more specific designations arise from the diversity of the architectural spectrums that assume the role of metaphors for the landscapes composed of mountains and bodies of water.

On the other hand, the planners are striving to realize this (above-mentioned) ideal approach in a building complex. Progressive energy conserving technology is simultaneously combined with the desired use of the building, so that the structure also results in the creation of interior premises that are highly comfortable. As a result, while man is acting within nature by harnessing its unstructured forces, man also utilizes the natural resources in a reasonable manner, which translates into a life in harmony with the environment.


Pro Scholare


New construction of an integrative residential property with commercial space: pro scholare

This project, which is located in Freiburg-Rieselfeld, was one of the first model projects built in accordance with the five-finger-principle. In this context, the term “pro scholare” does not only refer to the multi-family-home that comprises 82 apartments and a variety of commercially used units, but is also the name of a cooperative rental association that acts as a broker between property owners and tenants.

Consequently, pro scholare handles two important functions simultaneously.

On the one hand, it is part of an integrative social concept: as the general tenant, it is not only in a position to specifically control the rents, but also the social diversity of the complex’s residence structure. The six-floor building accommodates tenants of different ages and different ethnic backgrounds, as well as residents who do not have any handicaps and others who do. The building does offer handicapped accessible apartments.

On the other hand, the rental association compensates the risks of small investors. pro scholare guarantees owners that the apartments they own will be rented at all times, without interruptions. About 70 percent of the property owners are craftsmen who actually participated in the construction of the building. “While craftsman possess a wealth of knowledge, they don’t necessarily have a lot of money,” comments Wolfgang Frey.

A special financing concept offered participating craftsmen the option to acquire a stake in the building, for example in exchange for bartering work they did on their own building during their time off for some of the purchase amount due (Motivation). “The creativity of construction artisans is one of the most commonly ignored types of capital available,” observes architect Wolfgang Frey. As a result, the developer could count on good quality efficiently executed construction work. The craftsmen, on the other hand, were able to make retirement investments and acquire low risk assets.

Residential moderation

Once built, the goal for the structure and the residential environment was to also foster the communication between residents and help them identify with their home. Examples of additions that support these efforts are the small art gallery in the fire prevention stairwell and the shadow boxes in the hallways that are allocated to each apartment to be decorated by the residents. Targeted residential moderation further encourages the community spirit at the pro scholare.

Motivation through participation

Wolfgang Frey emphasizes: “As the creative drivers of the construction process we are responsible for the things we allow to be developed as cityscapes. We have to show our ‘faces’ and stand for what we do. Hence, the added value of work done with passion is priceless.” That is the reason why portraits are on display on the façade of the building. Everyone involved in the process demonstrates: I stand for this.

The multi-family home meets very exacting ecological standards. Among other things, this is true for the generation of electrical power via a photovoltaic system (40 kilowatts peak) or the production of hot water through a solar thermal solution. Rainwater is drained into the soil instead of the sewage system.

Titan oxide has been added to the façade paint as a photo catalyst. It converts nitrogen oxides into oxygen.

Premium quality ecological solutions

A geothermal solution is being used for year-round air conditioning: Radiant floor heat brings the heat into the building during the winter; in the summer months, excess heat is diverted back into the soil. Green zones can be found on both, the roof of the building and the roof of the underground garage. The latter resulted in the creation of a courtyard meadow.

The first tenants were able to move into the pro scholare model home in 2010. Since then, the Frey Architecture Firm has built additional commercial and residential complexes in partnership with the Freie Liegenschaftsverwaltung GmbH; all are based on the pro scholare concept and the “five-finger-principle”. In the interim, pro scholare has also begun to manage existing residential property on behalf of third parties.


Seniors Apartment Complex


As a sister project of the Schwanenhof Residential Complex, this residential complex creates a new town center in the village of Adelberg.

The building houses senior apartments offering home health care, randomly usable apartments, the local bank branch, church meeting rooms, a citizens’ office, photography studio and a hair dressing salon furnished in compliance with the principles of Feng Shui.

Moreover, a drugstore is available for the locals’ daily shopping needs. It is located across from the main entrance, albeit on a different floor. This brings plenty of activity in the complex without disturbing the residents. The heat and electrical energy is provided via an in-house heat power coupling system just like it is at the Schwanenhof Residential Complex.


Schwanenhof Residential Complex


The Schwanenhof Residential Complex is the new center of the village of Eichstetten am Kaiserstuhl. The ground floor accommodates all key businesses that sell products for the villagers’ every-day needs. The wine tasting bar of the local vintner’s association and the meeting rooms of the village’s civic community are also located in the building.

The architectural concept

“Whenever people are no longer able to keep up with the demands of life, life will simply have to meet them halfway.” – Wolfgang Frey

Guest rooms, rental apartments and 18 serviced senior residences occupy the top floors of the building. The road-facing siding sports the re-constructed historic village façade. Besides a traditional ambiance, modern features are also evident in the generous glass front, which establishes a link between the residents on the inside and nature out-of-doors (in the form of a garden).

The residential complex is home to aging seniors and local residents who do not want to leave their home village. Young families and individuals who need nursing care assistance occupy the apartments, which are positioned around a large roof garden. The arcade structure creates an inviting public space.

The Schwanenhof Residential Complex is a protected living space, where people have the option to receive intensive nursing care. The small unit of apartment groups does not provide an anonymous secluded home atmosphere, but gives residents the feeling of being in their personal homes.