Architecture

Shipping containers floated as the next BIG thing in student housing

Shipping containers floated as...
Urban Rigger comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base
Urban Rigger comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base
View 14 Images
Urban Rigger comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base
1/14
Urban Rigger comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base
Few students get to boast that they live in starchitect-designed  housing
2/14
Few students get to boast that they live in starchitect-designed  housing
Inside, the containers look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive
3/14
Inside, the containers look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive
The floorspace is split between housing, a common winter garden/courtyard, kayak landing point, bathing platform, BBQ area, and seating
4/14
The floorspace is split between housing, a common winter garden/courtyard, kayak landing point, bathing platform, BBQ area, and seating
One container has a green roof, another has a solar panel array, and the third sports a meeting space
5/14
One container has a green roof, another has a solar panel array, and the third sports a meeting space
The containers are lined with a highly-insulating aerogel developed by NASA
6/14
The containers are lined with a highly-insulating aerogel developed by NASA
The nine containers are stacked atop each other and rest on a floating base
7/14
The nine containers are stacked atop each other and rest on a floating base
Rent works out at around US$600 per month
8/14
Rent works out at around US$600 per month
Inside a container apartment
9/14
Inside a container apartment
The shipping containers boast large floor-to-ceiling windows
10/14
The shipping containers boast large floor-to-ceiling windows
Inside one of the container apartments
11/14
Inside one of the container apartments
The project measures 680 sq m (7,319 sq ft)
12/14
The project measures 680 sq m (7,319 sq ft)
Urban Rigger team hopes to export the housing prototype to other areas around the world
13/14
Urban Rigger team hopes to export the housing prototype to other areas around the world
Electricity is produced by a roof-based solar array
14/14
Electricity is produced by a roof-based solar array

Though the Bjarke Ingels Group appears to be increasingly associated with, well, big projects like the impressive courtscraper, it's most recently-completed build is on a much smaller scale. The Danish firm used recycled shipping containers to produce a sustainable floating housing prototype for Copenhagen students that it hopes to replicate elsewhere.

The Copenhagen Urban Rigger project comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base in the city's harbor. There's a total of 680 sq m (7,319 sq ft) of floorspace, split between housing, a common winter garden/courtyard, kayak landing point, bathing platform, BBQ area, and seating.

In addition, the student housing includes a communal roof terrace and a basement level with 12 storage rooms, laundry room, and technical room.

Inside, the container apartments look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive, certainly a lot more appealing to live in than many of the rundown brick-and-mortar student digs that dot our cities. The simple furnishings and use of unfinished wood contrast well with the large floor-to-ceiling windows that enable residents to gaze upon the harbor.

Inside, the containers look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive
Inside, the containers look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive

One obvious concern is insulation. It's something we've brought up before with shipping container architecture, but it's a real Achilles heel for such projects, and living in what's essentially a metal box on the water in the cold Copenhagen winter could prove a grim experience indeed. To address this, BIG lined the containers with a highly-insulating aerogel developed by NASA.

Aside from the environmental benefit of recycling shipping containers, the Urban Rigger project is green in other ways, too. Electricity is produced by a roof-based solar array, while a heat exchanger system uses the seawater it floats on to efficiently heat and cool the interiors.

Monthly rent works out at the equivalent of US$600 and BIG and Urban Rigger (the student housing startup that commissioned the project) aim to refine the prototype and export it to other cities. A 24-unit project is planned for Sweden next, and there's even the possibility that it could be adapted to serve as housing for refugees.

Sources: BIG, Urban Rigger

3 comments
Chizzy
Nice design. I think it would be just as useful in a non floating location.
lat1865
I would love to see these used and designed in a modular format, bolted to a concrete slab, using the Vietnam war era waterproof munitions containers, in order to withstand hurricane and flooding. A good way for older folks to live together separately and yet still take care of each other on inexpensive land with off grid electricity. That's a non floating application.
Martin Hone
Are these containers on their sides ? Seem quite wide for a regular container. Also, instead of the expense of the Aerogel insulation, why not just use the High Cube insulated containers ?