How can universities provide affordable student accommodation in cities with limited and expensive land availability? BIG architects have come up with an answer for Copenhagen, which could have applications in other countries – use underutilised waterways, in this case Copenhagen’s inner harbour, and cheap cheerful building modules from old containers – they are used for trendy entertainment and restaurant venues in Brixton and Shoreditch, so why not student housing which can also be carbon netutral?
Take 9 containers, stack them in a circle on a floating structure connected to the waterfront, with good bicycle routes nearby, and create 15 student studios around a central winter garden which becomes the social and common meeting place for the students.
Sounds far-fetched? One has been installed in Copenhagen opposite the Danish Architecture Centre. In some ways, it is a 21st century version of the barge boats which used to line waterways and canals and of the floating housing which is traditional in the far east.
It will be interesting to watch how this develops and whether the initial prototype is taken up elsewhere in Copenhagen and in other cities with underutilised harbours.