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.

Commercial, Residential
Freiburg-Rieselfeld, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Freie Liegenschaftsverwaltung GmbH
aparment building; seven floors; 82 aparments + 4 commercial facilities
Ecologic features
geothermics, photovoltaics, photocatalysis


(click to enlarge)

front view