IBA Hamburg Logo

Building cooperatives

© IBA Hamburg GmbH / Johannes Arlt

Building cooperatives create living space for their own use. Often, these projects have a particular ecological or social focus and are supported with funds from the City of Hamburg. The members of a building cooperative are directly involved in the planning and construction process and thus, generally, identify more strongly with their construction project and become involved in district life. This strengthens neighbourhoods and often brings innovative impulses into play. Examples include car-free housing, passive house standards, neighbourhood rooms, green roofs, inclusive housing or wooden construction.

There is a financial advantage for owners here and also an opportunity to realise their own ideas and live in an active community. Building cooperatives are, as a rule, realised in the form of a separate small cooperative or in cooperation with a traditional cooperative. Privately financed rental housing units are also possible.

Because of the positive effects of building cooperatives, it is the aim of the City of Hamburg to increase their proportion in new districts. In the project areas of the IBA Hamburg, in particular in Wilhelmsburg and Oberbillwerder, in each case up to 20% of the residential construction could be realised by building cooperatives.

  • Since 2010

    the Hamburg Building Cooperative Prize has been awarded to outstanding building groups.

  • The 1980s

    is when the first building cooperative in Hamburg was founded.

  • 115

    is the current number of building cooperatives in Hamburg.
    (as of 2019)

  • Suggested reading:

“Building cooperatives stand for the good life, self-determination and community spirit in everyday living; they also offer residents the outstanding quality of life that they have earned through time-intensive and high-resource-absorbing project development. They are not, however, “black holes” in the urban or rural landscape; they give the city as much as they take from it, or even more.”



What is the good thing about building cooperatives?

I want to found a building cooperative or join an existing one.
How do I do this?

The Agency for Building Cooperatives has been the central port of call since 2003 for everyone who is interested in construction as part of a building cooperative. The agency employees will support you from the initial idea all the way to realisation. They will explain to you how the process works on the administrative and financial levels, how you can find a suitable cooperative and where there are plots available. The agency cooperates with experienced architects and construction managers who safeguard the interests of each group.

In the Agency for Building Cooperatives’ contact exchange you can get to know and network with future builders and owners. You can find offers from existing building cooperatives there and search requests from interested individuals or small groups: Baut zusammen – die Kontaktbörse der Agentur für Baugemeinschaften. (only german)


Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg
Agentur für Baugemeinschaften
Neuenfelder Straße 19
21109 Hamburg

  • +49 40 428502333
  • Website of the Agency for Building Cooperatives (only German)

We are a building cooperative and are looking for a plot

Here, existing building cooperatives can find plots on offer in the IBA project areas. We are happy to answer any questions relating to tendering and the application process. Please note that we do not mediate between cooperatives and individuals. The Agency for Building Cooperatives is your point of contact for this (see above).

Plots for building cooperatives

Find out more

Why did you decide on building in a cooperative?

Building in a cooperative is cheap but the planning process was demanding. Collective decisions had to be taken. For us, this led to a lively and constructive culture of debate. At the same time, we were able to share responsibilities, risks and anxieties (and gummy bears). When we decided on a building cooperative, our friendship circle expanded. There is always someone there for you and we help each other out, for example, with accepting packages, watering the flowers or lending a cup of sugar. And we like to celebrate together. We live with families, pensioners, couples and individualists. Groups are often involved in district life, particularly with refugees. Here in Wilhelmsburg, life is good. It is close to the centre, it is quiet, but you still have (nearly) everything you need. Wilhelmsburg has a large alternative culture, opportunities for exercise and friendly bars. The Schlöperstieg is in a wonderful location, a real argument in favour of the micro-location.

The Schröder / Bauer family

Neue Hamburger Terrassen

Impressions of building cooperative projects of the IBA Hamburg

  • Neue Hamburger Terrassen (New Hamburg Terraces)

    The Neue Hamburger Terrassen (New Hamburg Terraces) were built as part of the International Building Exhibition IBA Hamburg 2006–2013 in Wilhelmsburg. In 2017, the building cooperative received an acknowledgement with special recognition for urban development and architecture (building cooperative prize). Particular praise was given to the courage of opening up a new location and the concept of using the street as a place of encounter, alongside the meeting of minds during the process and a form of social commitment that goes beyond your own building.

  • Nesting

    In Vogelkamp Neugraben, the cross-generational housing project “nesting in the Vogelkamp” has been created. The building cooperative includes 17 housing units in two neighbouring apartment buildings for approx. 35 adults, youths and children – with a protected view of the EU bird sanctuary of the Moorgürtel. The main focus of this building cooperative is on communal life. The architectural design is from the Plan-R Joachim Reinig office and was part of the IBA Hamburg architects exchange.

  • Open House

    In Reiherstiegviertel, in the course of the International Building Exhibition IBA Hamburg 2006–2013, the Open House was created, a communally planned building open to the district which complies with the latest standards of climate-friendly construction. The Baugemeinschaft Schipperort e. V. and Open House were awarded the Building Cooperative Prize for their innovative, energy-efficient building concept.


Find out more