Student life is often characterised by humble accommodation, with low rent and likewise low architectural quality. However, during the past decade or so, more and more work has gone into trying to raise the architectonic quality of student housing, but without pushing student rent through the ceiling. We explore three examples of recent Danish-designed student housing complexes.
In Ørestad, which is a relative new quarter in Copenhagen with loads of thrilling architecture, you can find the Tietgen Dormitory, designed by Danish architectural firm Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter. Inspired by traditional southern Chinese architecture, the building has a prominent circular shape, and contains a total of 360 student residences.
According to the architects, the circular shape allows a logical organization of the building: The dorm rooms are placed on the outside with views of the surrounding city, while the common rooms and hallways are oriented towards the courtyard in the centre of the dormitory.
In this way, Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter tried to make the architectural idea mirror what is unique about the dormitory as a type of accommodation, namely the interaction between the individual and the collective. The facilities common to the entire dormitory are grouped on the ground floor, such as the administration offices, meeting and study rooms, workshops, laundry room, mailroom and the functions room.
On the inside and outside of the cylindrical shape, alternating protrusions and projections tone down the formal quality of the building’s contour and, furthermore, give the Tietgen Dormitory its characteristic crystalline appearance. In addition, the tombac and oak façade cladding adds a natural texture to the dark and warm unifying main colour.
In the Danish city of Aalborg, the Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects designed new student residences sited at one of the city’s most attractive plots near the harbour front, specifically between Austrian architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au’s House of Music and Aalborg University’s new city campus, which was also designed by Henning Larsen Architects.
The new student residents have direct access to the new university campus via a great atrium that opens towards the harbour front. The complex is designed as two independent volumes with 192 and 62 student homes, respectively. One rises from two storeys towards the west up to seven storeys towards the House of Music to the east, while the second building rises gradually from three storeys to the south to fourteen storeys towards the harbour to the north. The sloping rooftops of both building volumes symbolises the transition from the city scale to the harbour scale.
Sharing similar facades, materiality and physical layout, the two-piece building, which comprises a total of 14,600 square metres, appears to be a single architectural whole. The large façade openings provide residents with balcony views over the city and waterfront.
In the Danish town of Kolding, the Danish architectural office Tegnestuen Mejeriet designed a new student residence complex. The first stage of the building comprised 83 youth residences, with half of these being one-room 35 square metre apartments and the rest being two-room 45 square metre apartments.
The building is designed as a balcony access block, with an emphasis on good design and good quality residences, while at the same time boasting low operational and maintenance costs. The six-storey complex has a sloping rooftop that opens the whole building towards the city centre. Bicycle and car parking spaces, storage rooms and other secondary rooms are situated underground and in basement rooms. In the local community, the orange colour of the building has already been noted.
“It is a house for young people, thus the colour ought to give the building a youthful appearance. Standing solid as a rock, the building signals youth, love of life and a wish for the future. It would be a pity to accommodate young people in a grey, dull building. We don’t want to be too careful or conservative, because the expression of youthful courage and daring may then be lost. Therefore, the complex has its own expression in the quarter, which doesn’t consist of identical buildings, but instead is inhabited by buildings with different expressions”, says Søren Nielsen, CEO at Tegnestuen Mejeriet.
The open spaces are placed in the lifted atrium and the lower part of the building’s roof. The traffic to and from the apartments is visible and is concentrated in the inner part of the building. According to the architects, the intention here was to create spaces for spontaneous encounters and a strong community.
The apartments are entered from the balcony access, with views and an inflow of daylight from south and west, while the interior design focuses on spaciousness for carrying out all kinds of everyday activities in the relatively small residences.