Berlin launches modular micro apartment scheme

The modular construction of a new concept of micro apartments has begun in Germany. The concept, developed by Arup, Berlinovo Immobilien GmbH and other experts, was created to better meet the high demand for affordable student housing in Berlin, and could be used to accommodate refugees.

The first construction project, on Storkower Straße in the district of Lichtenberg, is part of a plan that aims to build a total of 2,500 apartments by 2020, said Arup, a UK-based engineering and design consultancy.

The development that broke ground on 3 June will provide approximately 2,400 sq m of living space with 129 micro apartments, which come equipped with a kitchenette and bathroom and have a floor area of 16 sq m. They will be completed by the start of next year’s summer semester.

The design follows a modular construction concept for micro apartments. The so-called "technically optimised prototype" (TOP) can be implemented with different building materials, including concrete, steel and also timber, which allows for a larger circle of potential bidders for the construction of the building.

The technique cuts construction time in comparison to conventionally built buildings and allows for flexible alternative use during a life expectancy of 40 years and more, Arup said.

The micro apartments can also be converted to seniors’ homes, and the concept used for accommodation for refugees, Arup added.

"Our technically optimised prototype is ideal for such an application," said Jan Kertscher, project manager at Arup Berlin. "Refugee accommodation could be built within a very short time period and used immediately. A long-term alternative use would easily be possible due to the high degree of flexibility."

Photograph: Participating in the groundbreaking, from left, were: State Secretary Klaus Feiler; Senate Department of Finance, Birgit Monteiro; District Mayor Lichtenberg, Silke Andresen-Kienz; Commercial Director of berlinovo, Michael Müller; Governing Mayor of Berlin, Roland J. Stauber; CEO of berlinovo, Marlies Neumann; and student, Jan Müller Seidler, architect (IHT). (Courtesy of Berlinovo Immobilien)

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