What if, instead of spending your freshman year in a cramped, 12-by-19-foot dorm room, you spent it sprawled out in a sunny bedroom full of salvaged furniture? That’s exactly what the 200 study abroad students who attend the recently opened CIEE Global Institute in Berlin have to look forward to. The school’s swank student residence complex was converted from an old factory for car radio buttons in the city’s trendy Kreuzberg district.
Designed by the New York-based developers Macro Sea, the “vertical campus” houses dorm rooms, classrooms, an architectural studio, and an event space under the same roof. In the bedrooms, students can enjoy furniture fashioned out of salvaged materials from the original factory, including a nifty wardrobe on wheels for easy rearranging. The shared living areas feature “a mixture of old and new pieces in muted colors,” while communal kitchens appear to be straight from the pages of a Blu Dot catalog. In the lobby of the building, a stone reception desk and (working!) fireplace greet students and visitors as they arrive.
The big, airy spaces and paired-down design details make the residence look more like the sleek, modern offices of thriving startups than a college dorm. Tech campuses have already changed what employees expect out of their workspaces. Why not dorms?