In a bid to innovate on its real estate portfolio, by creating cheap, modular, multi-purpose micro apartments, Berlinovo Immobilien Gesellschaft and Arup worked together on a new apartment design. The initial construction of 129 micro apartments will initially supply housing for Berlin’s student population, but may well be appropriated in the future for retirees or refugees.
Berlinovo Immobilien Gesellschaft was founded in 2006 and is owned by, and based in, the federal state of Berlin. The agency provide rental properties for the Berlin market. Its portfolio consists of more than 433 properties, including almost 30,000 rental units, of which almost 20,000 are residential units and 7,000 apartment units. Berlinovo was set up to engage, in an entrepreneurial and innovative manner, with the Berlin real estate market, with an eye towards building a housing supply in line with the needs of the city’s changing demographic.
Berlin is home to a large cohort of students, that come to study at its three large universities and range of vocational institutes. Like almost all global cities, finding affordable housing that fits within the student budget, remains no easy task. In a bid to provide more space for students in the city, Berlinovo and Arup, among others, joined forces to develop a new design for low-cost micro housing using modular construction. The initial phase of development, which has started at Storkower Straße in the district of Lichtenberg, will see the construction of approximately 2,400m² of living space with 129 micro apartments. The apartments, which are a modest 16 m², will each contain a kitchenette and bathroom. The first line of micro apartments will be completed by the start of next year’s summer semester.
The apartments have been designed using modular construction concepts, leveraging the so-called “technically optimised prototype” technique, which can be implemented using a range of building materials – providing, among others, additional scope in bidders for construction of the building and a faster turnaround time for their delivery.
The new apartments are built with versatility in mind, opening the possibility of being turned into senior homes of tomorrow or as spaces for refugees over their expected 40+ year lifecycle. Jan Kertscher, Project Manager at Arup Berlin, remarks “Our technically optimised prototype is ideal for such an application. 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.”