Berlin Housing Project Offers Student Housing In Recycled Shipping Containers

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs


EBA51-01 (c)

Berlin has developed into one of Germany’s most popular cities for the country’s younger population, thanks to its bustling nightlife and artistic opportunities.  It is also home to a large amount of universities, which has created a slight housing dilemma.  With more students deciding to live in the city while attending school, they are discovering the lack of housing opportunities with high costs or outdated accommodations being the main problem.

One Berlin investor however has come up with a solution that may sound a little crazy at first, but fits in with Berlin’s unique culture.  In a 118,000-square-foot plot of land that used to be the home of East German administration buildings, developer Jörg Duske has decided to create a student village made of recycled shipping containers.

Shipping container housing can be created for just a fraction of the cost of new construction, and has a green aspect to it.  In order to make it suitable for living though, the containers that were created for storage have to undergo certain transformations to comply with safety regulations.  There is also the problem with insulation or the lack thereof.  Berlin can get pretty hot in the summer and reach below zero temperatures in the winter months.

EBA51-02 (c)

The EBA51 housing project, which it is being called, isn’t the first of its kind.  A similar complex was constructed in Holland, and there has been a slow-growing trend of shipping container homes throughout the world.  The challenge however doesn’t lie in converting the shipping containers into habitable spaces, but in making it look pleasing to prospective renters.

Duske opened up the design phase to a number of firms and decided to go with a plan developed by the Zurich-based Holzer Kobler Architecture.  Each 26-square-meter unit includes a living area, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom for approximately $290 a month.  There are also double and triple units suited for students looking for a little more space to share with roommates.  While all of the units only provide the bare minimum needed for independent living, the housing complex also offers game rooms, barbecue stations, communal kitchens, a laundry facility, and more to create a community atmosphere.

By the time the fall semester begins this September, EBA51 is expected to have the first 73 units completed and the remaining units are then on track to be finished by April of next year.  It is a unique solution to the housing problem for the roughly 147,000 students in Berlin, but if there is any city that this idea could work in, Berlin is definitely it.


Sources: EBA51Deutsche Welle
Photos: © Holzer Kobler Architekturen Berlin GmbH

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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