Currently on display at Sweden’s Virserum Museum is a prototype of a 10-square-meter (108-square-foot) cube that could become an affordable alternative to typical student housing. The structure — which comes packaged in an Ikea-style flat-pack — is made of locally-sourced wood and contains its own toilet, kitchen, sleeping space, and patio. They are also insulated against frigid Swedish winters, and will rent for half the price of standard student housing. University of Lund students will be the first to experience life in these cubes; a “mini-village” of 22 units will be built there next year.
What’s the Big Idea?
The cube is the whittled-down version of a concept that has been on Tengbom Architects’ table since 2007, and Linda Camara says it was built in response to a severe shortage of student housing units in Sweden. Sustainability was a priority along with construction speed, quality — “The final version must last for 100 years at least” — and student needs. Ultimately she’d like to see mini-villages appearing on university campuses across the country.