A couple of years ago, a strange collection of shipping containers was lashed to a barge and tethered to the ocean floor on Copenhagens picturesque waterfront. The strange floating mass was the first prototype in the hunt for a solution to a global shortage of student housing in major cities. Aptly named the Urban Rigger, the architectural maestro behind its design and build, Kim Loudrup of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has recently been privy to the rollout of what was once an optimistic dream – the plan to build 72 more Urban Riggers to form a community that has the potential to hugely alleviate the urban housing crises in general.
The future plan for multiple Urban Rigger units has the potential to hugely alleviate a lack of student, refugee & temporary housing in urban areas with access to available waterways.
Universities tend to be located centrally in the worlds major metro areas. Nearby housing for the students attending is becoming increasingly unaffordable, unattainable and, with the number of students attending higher education doubling since 2000, the housing crisis has quickly become an epidemic. With 8 of the world’s 10 largest cities enjoying coastal and/or waterfront aspects, the solution to a huge lack of development land could lie in discovering new and novel ways to construct residential solutions that serve as housing for students, yield strong and steady returns for developers and owners, and introduce a model of medium to high density living that will continue to be embraced by a majority of the global population over their lifetimes.
An Urban Rigger is a unique, design protected, patented, floating, flexible, C02 neutral and mobile property totalling 680 m2, which is spread over 300 m2 of housing (9 + 3 individual student residences at respectively 23m2 – 27m2), a 160 m2 common green courtyard, kayak landing, bathing platform, BBQ area, as well as a 65 m2 communal roof terrace. Downstairs, below sea level, is a 230 m2 pontoon (basement), comprising 12 storage rooms, technical room and a shared, fully automated laundry.
Student housing on the Urban Rigger
An aerial view of the Urban Rigger reveals sustainability elements, communal green space, and the internal courtyard.
The opportunities supported by the Urban Rigger’s design inclusions are far reaching beyond the lack of student housing alone, offering solutions to many other residential crises such as housing refugees. With an abundance of private and communal space, residents are encouraged to embrace independent living in an environment that promotes social awareness whilst also exposing young minds to sustainability and design focused, small footprint living. Collectively, the considered design evident in the Urban Rigger prototype inspires further ideas to support the future of medium and high-density residential development.
Words by Tiffany Jade.
Images courtesy of www.urbanrigger.com