Shipping container-based student housing planned for Copenhagen

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CPH Containers plans to build 2,000 student housing units before 2019(Credit: CPH Containers)

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Copenhagen's CPH Containers aims to create low-cost container-based student homes for installation on underdeveloped land. Working with Vandkunsten Architects' Søren Nielsen, the firm has developed a container home with which it plans to construct its first "student village" in Copenhagen later this year.

The prototype container home, dubbed CPH Shelter, is made from a 40-ft (12-m) recycled shipping container, and features an additional two-floor polycarbonate structure. This latter area serves as a winter garden and glows like a lantern at night.

The container home's interior comprises a lounge/dining area, kitchen, bedroom with daybed, and a bathroom with shower and toilet. The winter garden can be used for growing food or other plants. The walls and floor are clad in sustainably-forested Swedish pine, while fire-retardant fiberboards are installed in the ceiling. Large operable windows are also cut into the container.

We've written at length about container-based architecture, including a similar South African student housing project, and they offer tempting benefits: container structures are easy to construct, easy to dismantle and move, with no significant foundations required. There's also the environmental benefit of building with recycled materials to consider. However, the positives must be weighed against a container's lack of insulation and the difficulty of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter.

To address this, CPH Containers has installed wood fiber and paper-wool insulation, in addition to an automated mechanical ventilation system in the bathroom and kitchen. The firm also says that its polycarbonate winter garden offers warmth on a sunny day (though an efficient heat pump is also installed).

CPH Containers has received a preliminary thumbs-up from the Copenhagen municipal council and hopes to begin constructing the first student village later this year. Like existing local structure Made To Be Moved, the idea is that the student village can simply be dismantled and moved to another location if required.

"Our plan is to build 2000 student housing units before 2019," CPH Containers told Gizmag. "Each village will have aproximately 300-400 units. We've been working very hard on a political level to free up empty space in Copenhagen.

"The price for rooms will vary. Whether it's a commercial investor, who wants a profit margin, or a public housing company, who doesn't need profitability. In the latter case a room will cost about US$300 a month, in the first case about $500 a month."

The firm is seeking volunteers to get in touch and help it realize its vision, while future plans include rolling out the idea throughout Denmark and abroad.

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