Student housing, at least in the United States, is rarely portrayed as glamorous and fashionable. There tends to be limited privacy, noise, and shared common areas and bathrooms. Unfortunately for students in America, Keetwonen is in Amsterdam.
Build in 2006, Keetwonen is an innovative student housing project built from 1050, used 40' shipping containers. The project was so innovative that it won a Funda award that year for best execution in construction. The containers were modified in China, and delivered to Amsterdam. Once assembled they created the largest container city in the world. Let's take a quick walk through the process: At the factory in China, the containers were modified and the housing was produced. This means that back in Amsterdam, there was limited noise and environmental pollution. Factor in the truncated construction time and money saved, and things really start to get interesting. Once modified, the containers were then shipped to Amsterdam and assembled on site. Remember Lego blocks? The construction wasn't that simple, but close.
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 begs to be asked, "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 let's not even discuss the poor kids banging open those huge steel doors every time they need to go out. Simply put, this couldn't be further from the truth.
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. Still concerned about heating and cooling? The heating is supplied by a centralized natural gas boiler. Still not satisfied? Let's discuss security. Each dorm room is equipped with a central phone connected to the main entrance. Other students, or non-students, aren't able to wander into the dorm unless someone buzzes them in. To top it off, Keetwonen has an integrated water collection facility. The roof of the facility is designed to collect and disperse rain water that serves as insulation for the building.
Keetwonen was a huge gamble on the part of the administration, and it's paid off in a big way. The facility was intended to be decommissioned in 2011, but it's been extended through to 2016.