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Press Release from 2021-10-21 / Group

Outstanding projects from Upper Bavaria and Thuringia win the 2021 KfW Construction Award

  • Motto: “Buildings for today and tomorrow”
  • Winners from Upper Bavaria, Thuringia, Rosenheim, Darmstadt, Cologne and Chemnitz
  • Special prize awarded to a revitalisation project in the Oberlausitz region

For the 19th time, the KfW Construction Awards are honouring German developers and building associations that have implemented new building projects or expanded, converted, modernised or revitalised an existing building in the past five years.

The seven winners were awarded a total of EUR 35,000 in prize money by a jury chaired by architect Prof. Hans Kollhoff. The jury assessed the projects with regard to their balance between architecture and appearance, good integration into the structural environment, energy and cost efficiency, future-oriented and sustainable construction, optimum use of space and land, as well as individual comfort. In many cases, the winners also met KfW Efficiency House standards and broke down barriers thanks to their successful architecture.

“The award-winning properties worked on by these owners, contractors and joint building ventures have been built with spectacular and forward-looking ideas – along with a great deal of commitment and courage. They combine successful architecture, energy efficiency, accessible living space, comfort and convenience, and in many cases have saved history from falling into decay,” says Dr Ingrid Hengster, Member of KfW Group’s Executive Board. “The winners serve as role models and are sure to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The winners

New Construction category:

First prize (€7,000)

In the Upper Bavaria municipality of Münsing, the Pallaufhof Münsing joint building venture has built 24 terraced houses and flats between 72 and 184 square metres in size under two large roofs – instead of a conventional single-family residential complex. They built two compact and intricate wooden structures along with a combined heat and power plant and a solar energy system. The work was contracted out by 55 adults between the ages of 30 and 70. There are currently 18 children, who can play in the almost 7,000-square-metre site, which was kept free of construction thanks to the compact building design.

Second prize (€5,000)

Near Rosenheim in southeastern Germany, the Franks, a family of five, built a compact wooden house on their parents’ property in a natural setting. With a floor space of eight by twelve metres, floor-to-ceiling windows and no corridors, the house was built using a charred larch wood façade in the Japanese style. A photovoltaic system with battery storage makes the property self-sufficient.

Third prize (€3,000)

Energie+, a joint building venture, has erected two brick buildings in Cologne’s Nippes district, with 17 flats inside that meet passive house energy efficiency standards. With façades featuring recessed windows, protruding concrete roofs and solid brick walls with rounded corners, the energy-efficient complex fits in seamlessly with the district’s existing architecture. The buildings obtain their heating from the city’s district heating grid, with most of the electricity obtained from the 237 square metres of photovoltaic modules on the roofs.

Existing Buildings category:

First prize (€7,000)

In the heart of the Thuringian town of Arnstadt, married couple Maike and Daniel Herz revitalised an extremely old three-sided farmhouse and barn, whose bright, open-plan attic is inhabited by the couple themselves. The lower part of the barn, with its restored quarry-stone walls, is often opened up for cultural events. The core of the property – including the front house, a plastered half-timbered construction – dates back to the 13th century. The 306-square-metre building is heated with a gas condensing boiler, which feeds the underfloor heating in the roof and the in-wall heating build in behind the clay plaster on the upper floor.

Second prize (€5,000)

Architect Romana Buxbaum acquired the old forester’s homestead at the Kranichstein Hunting Lodge near the city of Darmstadt. The property consists of three buildings: the actual forester’s lodge (which is now used as an office), a barn and a workshop. The barn and workshop were converted into a residential building in which, despite modernisation and thermal insulation, much of the original ambience of the old lumber camp was preserved.

Third prize (€3,000)

Christian Bodensteiner, Annette Fest and Daniel Stroux saved a rented building from progressive decay in the city of Chemnitz in eastern Germany. They added six studio apartments measuring 46 to 168 square metres to the building, which was first erected in the Gründerzeit era and had been empty for 30 years. Salvaged bricks were used to create a maisonette in the new attic, while old brick walls were left exposed.

Special jury prize (€5,000)

In the middle of Niesky, a town in the far east of Germany, two doctors – Winfried and Antje Georgi – put a great deal of enthusiasm and architectural skill into converting a factory owner’s villa. Six apartments with unusual layouts and a GP’s surgery on the main floor were built in the neo-Gothic structure, which is a listed building. The villa became an eco-friendly flagship project with calcium silicate panels and clay plaster as interior insulation suitable for listed buildings, a ventilation system with heat recovery and a partially solar-supported heat pump, which will feed in-wall and underfloor heating in the future.

Again this year, the awards ceremony will not be taking place at KfW’s Berlin branch due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winners will be announced on the KfW Stories online platform as well as in two programmes on the n-TV channel. The programmes will be aired on 26 October at 7.30 pm (repeated on 27 October at 2.30 pm) and on 9 November at 7.30 pm (repeated on 10 November at 2.30 pm).

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, KfW promotes measures by private developers to improve energy efficiency with the new Federal Subsidy for Efficient Buildings (BEG) as part of the CO2 Building Modernisation Programme. Via KfW and its Age-Appropriate Conversion Programme, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community supports the removal of barriers and protection against break-ins in residential buildings, while the Baukindergeld scheme helps families with children to purchase owner-occupied housing for the first time.

For information about promotional opportunities, visit www.kfw.de or call +49 800 539 9002.

We are publishing profiles on the prize winners at


Press images and copy are available from the KfW Group Press Office on request.


Portrait von Sybille Bauerfeind


Sybille Bauernfeind


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