These Teeny Tiny Shipping Container Homes Just Might Solve Student Housing in Copenhagen

published Mar 25, 2018
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These “truly lovely” yet teeny tiny modular units made from shipping containers, currently sitting on Copenhagen’s harbor front, just might be what the future of sustainable, affordable housing looks like — for students and other young people.

Starting in design-forward (and uber-expensive) Denmark, CPH Village is a network of mobile and sustainable communities designed to help solve the problem facing every major city in the world: young people struggling to find affordable places to live, near where they go to school or where they work. CPH’s goal is to have 10 villages, each with 250 units — 2,500 apartments total — up and running around the world by 2020.

Much like Austin, TX-based Kasita, the vision is for a modular, affordable housing model in the “circular economy”, a conceptual design philosophy through which sustainability is the norm and waste is intentionally designed out (or to an absolute minimum) in every aspect of architectural planning.

The upcycled shipping container design has been dubbed “cargotecture” by Inhabitat and others for its industrial origins and flexible, mobile intentions, but its interiors — now in at least the third design iteration since the pilot project launched in 2015 — is sleek, minimal, stylish, and quintessentially Danish. Residents can even select discounted furnishings from a special catalog from Hay Design.

Former executive editor Janel Laban visited CH Village in Denmark in person last week, and confirmed that these container homes are as sweet as they look:

The first location for students is on the Copenhagen waterfront at Refshaleoen, a three-minute bike ride from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, The Danish Film School, and the Danish School of National Theater, promising “a unique environment by the harbor front while you study, [with] great sports facilities, upcoming cafes and restaurants, and epic parties.” CH Village planners are also working with land developers to offer youthful neighborhood amenities and fun nearby, like constructing “harbour baths”.

Each CPH container unit features private living space and kitchenette, with a shared bathroom and toilet for every two units. The modular designs can be easily transformed from single housing units to larger multi-generational housing or other uses, and presumably back again.

View more photos from the first installation at Refshaleoen on the CPH Village website, Facebook page, and Instagram, or see past design iterations featured in Australian shelter magazine Yellow Trace in 2015 and in this 2016 piece from FastCo.