Students living behind Wire Mesh

Students living behind Wire Mesh

Garching dormitory

The striking arcade of the dormitory in Garching is the eye-catcher of the residential complex, but is not really convincing regarding its usage.

The extraordinary dormitory in Garching was built within the scope of Garching as an academy town in the North of Munich. After some faculties had been re-located from the main area of the Technische Universität Munich to Garching downtown, the need for dormitories grew in that area. In 2005, a dormitory was built initialized by the Munich student union, planned by Fink + Jocher.

Something for Everyone

Spread across two identical buildings, the facility provides all in all 112 domiciles. Each of the buildings has five floors, housing a variety of domicile types. There are 32 single apartments and 80 places in living groups for between two and four people.

The kitchen and common rooms of the 4-people living groups can be accessed from the front. The related  rooms have separate entrances via the arcade on the long sides. Each room of the living units has a plumbing unit of its own. The 2-people living units have their layout across the full width of the building. Designed in the middle as a place of encounter they have a small kitchen unit as well as a commonly used plumbing unit.

The single apartments can only be accessed from one side of the arcade, they have a plumbing unit of their own and a very small kitchen unit.

What is worth mentioning here is the blend of the various apartment types, which is a good precondition for social contacts among the students. Apart from that, the apartments are designed in such a way that they can be used and lived in in a variety of ways. According to Fink + Jocher, the dormitory “is based on the idea of a platform where all kinds of lives can be lived next to each other without disturbing your neighbor”. The furniture, for instance, are all equipped with wheels, which makes re-arrangement and adapting to individual tastes easy.

The Arcade as controversial Access Point …

A crucial design element of the dormitory are the arcades running all around the building, from which all rooms and common rooms can be accessed. Arcades as means of access have a bad reputation, especially due to the sudden transition of public and private areas.

Usually, arcades provide access to side rooms that are not often used. Since at Garching dormitory the private rooms are located right next to the access arcades, Fink + Jocher have designed a well thought-through and sensitive architectural transition and individual adaptation. The room-high windows can be completely closed with textile membranes, so only filtered light can get inside. So, everyone can decide for himself how much he or she wants to show others about their privacy. The doors of anthracite-colored aluminum have ventilation wings, allowing fresh air to get inside.

As an architectural element the arcades characterize the building’s overall impression. They create a strong horizontality along with a striking physicality. The edges are slightly jagged and arranged towards each other in a staggered manner on the various floors. Vertical access points happen through open staircases at the buildings’ fronts, being clearly visible concrete sculptures.

… or a Place for Communication and Encounter?

Fink + Jocher have designed the arcades with the intention of creating an expansion for the rather limited living areas. They are supposed to be places of encounter, access points and balconies all at the same time. The idea is that the students control the arcades and thus give them communicative functions.

Unfortunately, the property management has not allowed the students to put furniture or plants on the arcades, which is a severe blow to the architects’ intention. This way the students are deprived of the possibility to really control the arcades, such as equipping it with a little herb garden or a comfortable lounge, since the width of 1.50 m would provide a charming place of communication. Now, the arcades are nothing more than common hallways.

Stainless Steel Wire Mesh?

An enhancing element of the arcades and also of the atmosphere inside the rooms is the stainless steel wire mesh the whole building has been wrapped in. Especially along with the jagged ending of the arcades an interesting, multi-layered façade level has been created.

The wire mesh has been specially designed for the dormitory and can replace the usual fall protection through a variety in the mesh width. This way the building shell gets, in contrast to the clear, massive shapes of the building itself, a pleasantly transparent and light appearance.

The wire mesh is supposed to get completely covered with Virginia creeper, which is certainly going to upgrade the building, since areas which are still exposed to wind and weather as well as to curious eyes, could achieve a certain degree of intimacy. Also the problem of too much sunlight coming in through the large windows could be reduced.

This project shows that architecture alone is no guarantee for a well-made concept. Strict property managers as well as little interest of the inhabitants can overthrow any good idea.

Project details


Fink + Jocher architects and city planners, Munich, Germany


Year of construction: 2005


Munich Student Union


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tompark12's picture
tompark12 23. July 2014 - 12:55

This kind of buildings can be a real challenge in terms of plumbing. It takes real professionals to pull it through. There are some interesting readings on prototype buildings and plumbing systems on F.H. Furr. This kind of resource could be a real help for the professionals activating in this field.

billmarket17's picture
billmarket17 29. November 2014 - 13:32

This experience must be wonderful! Furthermore, people who have gardens, and even these students, should spend more time working at them, to cultivate something, like a few berry plants from and vegetables and take great care of them. Gardening can be considered a hobby, an activity that many people practice it to relax, breathe fresh air and maintain fit.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 3. December 2014 - 12:02

Living here may be a challenge. But together you can arrange some common spaces and resort to the Virginia Beach tree removal services to clean some areas, where the trees have grown too fast and too close one next to each other. It is wonderful to live close to nature, but you shouldn't live in such a chaos.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 4. December 2014 - 11:21

This wire fence isn't so appealing, instead student could change it with a strong, modern and well made fence. Because they use daily the Internet, they will find an attractive fence offer at So, it doesn't matter what type of fence they will choose, because they will get the most reasonable pricing from the market.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 20. December 2014 - 17:06

No matter where they live, the building should have some powerful security equipments. More and more homeowners have installed the patio door locks and the sliding window locks not only to keep the thieves away, but also to have some control over their children or pets. The equipment from is easy to install and provides maximum adjustability and convenience, perfect for a student building.

juliabrookins's picture
juliabrookins 29. January 2015 - 8:32

It's a huge building with good protection, but i think students really doesn't enjoy much in the atmosphere. Having a plumbing unit is always helpful to be in good maintenance with the kitchen as well the other piping systems. I am so pleased through your post. Keep sharing more.

juliabrookins's picture
juliabrookins 29. January 2015 - 8:41

Living in such huge building which got huge mesh is something a unique feeling to me. And having a plumbing system around always helps in maintaining the kitchen as well the remaining in a good way. I would prefer Plumbers London for kind of plumbing problems.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 17. March 2015 - 12:44

The designers have made good use of wire mesh here to create such an unique look for the building. This concept should be tried elsewhere too and the designers should consider using wire mesh panels to lend an attractive look to the place.