Remember your old college dorm? Chances are it wasn't the pinnacle of innovative design. Well things are quite different for a few lucky students in Le Havre, France. Their rooms are modern, light-filled and made from old shipping containers! Called Cité a Docks and designed by Cattani Architects, the minimalistic dwellings each come with a bathroom, a kitchen and, most importantly, bragging rights.
Since it’s all too common for dormitories to feel jail-like and unwelcoming with their bland, uniform spaces, Cattani made sure they created an open feeling with their design (which can be quite a challenge when you’re working with closed grey boxes as your base element). Instead of just stacking the boxes right on top of one another, they staggered them and left alternating areas between containers empty so that they act as walkways and balconies.
To assure that every room has the same level of privacy, the first floor is raised off the ground, which consequently opens up space for students to store their bikes. Each unit is about 24 square meters and has a large glass wall which lets in a lot of natural light. And while the exterior of the building might be industrial and metallic, the inside of each room is a welcoming white with warm wooden furniture. Since shipping containers can be quite noisy (which is hardly conducive to studying) container walls that face the exterior of the building or sit between other units are insulated using concrete fire walls and rubber.
Images © Cattini Architects via Freshome