urban rigger aerial Rendering: Urban Rigger

Getting a post-secondary education comes with plenty of hurdles, but if Copenhagen-based startup Urban Rigger gets its way, soon students in some of the world’s most expensive cities will be able to rest easy, at least when it comes to rent.

Founded in 2013 by Kim Loudrup, the company’s goal is to positively impact the “almost unmanageable” student housing situation in Europe’s capital cities. Copenhagen was its first stop, and for good reason — according to Danish housing authorities, with 64,000 new students admitted to higher education institutions in the country each year, on average 24,000 students find themselves without a place to live.

“My oldest son needed a place to live when he was going to university,” Loudrup recently explained to Fastco Design. “When we went online to see the availability for student housing somewhere close to us [in Copenhagen], it dawned on us that it was a nightmare.”

urban rigger street view Photo: Urban Rigger

urban rigger exterior Photo: Urban Rigger

It’s taken a few years, but Loudrup, in partnership with architect Bjarke Ingels of Bjarke Ingels Group, has finally been able to present an effective — if unconventional — solution to the problem: floating shipping containers. Urban Rigger launched its first set of low-cost floating dorms in Copenhagen last week, and doesn’t plan to stop there.

“The first Urban Rigger that arrived is a proof of concept,” Ingels, whose company has a 10 percent stake in Urban Rigger, told Fastco Design. “Based on the experience with this one, we’re going to make a 1.1, a 1.2, and eventually a 2.0.”

urban rigger courtyard Rendering: Urban Rigger

urban rigger gallery Rendering: Urban Rigger

We don’t blame you if you’re skeptical that Urban Rigger’s floating dorms will catch on — living in a harbor isn’t quite as convenient as living on campus, and we can’t help but wonder if seasickness will be an issue.

That said, even a brief look at what the water-borne dorms have to offer shows they’ve got plenty of appealing features. Each complex is made up of nine shipping containers, with space for 15 students. All occupants get their own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, while a courtyard, kayak landing, bathing platform, barbecue area and roof terrace are shared. And though units are minimally decorated, interiors are brightly lit with modern finishes.

The dorms also use sustainable technology, including an aerogel insulator developed by NASA. But the real cherry on top? Rent is just $600 a month, a price that’s practically unbeatable in Copenhagen.

urban rigger kitchen Rendering: Urban Rigger

urban rigger bedroom Rendering: Urban Rigger

Student feedback on the Copenhagen dorms is yet to come, but Urban Rigger is already planning to build a similar complex in Sweden. Loudrup also says he’s been receiving inquiries from North America, and the company has considered eventually turning to applications other than student housing — think refugee or even commercial housing.

For now, however, the focus will remain on creating more dorms. “The education of our youth is one of the best investments any society can make,” said Ingels. “To make it possible to find someplace to live that is enjoyable and will enable them to become better students. In that sense, not investing in our future is simply the worst place to cut corners.”

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