By Asser Munch

For years, we’ve been looking at the first prototype of the ‘Urban Rigger’ student residence units at the harbour front in Copenhagen. Finally, the first one has company, with no less than five new units in different colours.

Each of the units features six recycled shipping containers, transformed to small, housing units for students. The first level is three smaller containers, each with a 30 m2 home for one or two. Stacked on top of these are three bigger containers, each with three 23 m2 one-room apartments. In total 12 student homes per unit, 72 homes in all six of them.

Under ‘deck’, the platform itself hides storage lockers, technical installations, and a surprisingly spacious, shared room with a kitchen.

One container rooftop is a shared terrace with a great view. Another has solar panels, powering the heat pumps that are providing heating for the whole unit. And a third rooftop is a green roof.

Unlike the first unit, where each apartment was sold, the apartments in the new units will be rented out.


– but wait … what about…?

The Urban Rigger is a well-thought concept:

  • Upcycling of old shipping containers: great!
  • The whole arrangement and stacking on a floating platform with useful space underneath it: über-clever!
  • The application of smart tech to make the units as self-sustaining as possible: nice touch!

It’s all charming, smart, appealing, colourful and good looking.

But the Urban Riggers don’t help an important and significant problem: the shortage of student housing in Copenhagen. The prices are out of reach for most students. So the few students who will benefit, are students that would otherwise have no problems finding private accommodation. And 72 units will not affect the general market for this type of accommodation.

So from my viewpoint, the Urban Riggers are in fact – however charming and clever – a surrogate for giving the problem the proper priority in city planning and development. I hope, we’ll see that happening with new dormitory / student housing projects underway. Some designed by… BIG, of course!