Student Housing Project Built From Over A Thousand Used Shipping Containers

Built in 2006, Keetwonen is an innovative student housing project in The Netherlands built from 1,050 used 40 foot shipping containers. At the time of construction it was seen as a huge gamble on the part of the Dutch administration, but it has paid off in a big way. The facility was intended to be decommissioned in 2011, but it’s been extended through to 2016.The containers were modified in China, and delivered into the port of Amsterdam. From there they were transported to site where, once assembled, they created the largest container city in the world.

On paper, a giant dormitory built off site, out of environmentally friendly shipping containers sounds great. The project saves vast amounts of both time and money, and limits the impact on the local community. The question that was asked at the time was, “what are we subjecting our students to by forcing them to live in a used, but nicely modified, shipping container?” The first image that comes to mind is that the containers will be backing hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter, and with the student opening and closing 8’6” steel doors every time they need to go out.

The dormitories are very different from this. Every room in the dormitory has a private bathroom, balcony, kitchen, separate sleeping and study areas, and large windows that provide a great amount of daylight. The heating is supplied by a centralized natural gas boiler and for added security; each dorm room is equipped with a central phone connected to the main entrance.

The dormitories have incorporated environmentally friendly systems in their design. One of which is an integrated water collection facility whereby the roof of the facility is designed to collect and disperse rain water that serves as insulation for the building.

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