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An Old Factory Becomes Germany's College Housing of the Future

G27 is changing the way college students shack up overseas.

Located in the heart of Kreuzberg, an area of the city known for its eclectic community and historic urban landscape, the G27 Global Institute is an 85,000 square foot campus for students living abroad in Berlin. To create it, entrepreneurial design and real estate firm Macro Sea partnered with the Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE), to reconstruct the 100-year-old Roka manufacturing complex into one of the first design-led student housing concepts. 

The project is what the designers are calling a full-fledged “vertical campus” where residencies, classrooms, dining facilities, and socializing common space, coexist under the same roof. The aesthetically driven concept is a state of the art interdisciplinary space that, “respects the life changing experience that is the semester abroad.”

David Belt, Macro Sea’s founder and President, recognizes that students’ taste in housing has long evolved from the cell-like mass-produced bookcases, rough eroding couches, narrow bed frames, and sticky beer coated ping pong tables. The G27 campus is the antithesis of institutional resident halls, built to treat “the increasingly sophisticated and mobile student population as travelers seeking authenticity,” according to the press release.

Belt tells The Creators Project, “Student housing at its best is institutional and stark and at its worst is confined to dilapidated couches and condescending amenities. With G27, we are humanizing the student housing experience, providing great community spaces and bedrooms with high-quality design that incorporates interesting textures and materials. We wanted to create a community incubator that facilitated learning both inside and outside of the classroom and designed G27 as a “vertical campus” where living, academic classes, dining, and socializing co-exist.”

The residential branch of the plot accommodates over 200 people, featuring repurposed local furniture and artifacts salvaged from the previous property. Designers have created a unique system that allows students to customize their rooms as well as their private bathrooms. The interior is decorated with a mix of vintage Bavarian, bespoke Danish and edgy Berlin furniture, as well as materials salvaged from the original factory. The structure of the campus has been designed to maximize social engagement amongst its residents. The campus’ central focal point is a big open space common room, with multiple seating area, a marble bar and cafe, and a large fire place.

Macro Sea’s website outlines the project’s philosophy on their website: “We reject the standard operating procedure for a student dormitory. Too often they are bland, cramped, uncomfortable, and uninteresting, with crappy particle board furniture and throwaway excuses for common spaces.” So, nicest dorms ever? Check out more of the G27 in the photos below:

For more from Macro Sea, head over to their website.

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