Student accommodation with sea views

With Limfjorden on their doorstep, the new residents at PFA Dorm in Aalborg have an unusually attractive home address. At the same time, in designing the student housing, considerable emphasis was placed on creating a strong learning environment while supporting a sense of community and long-term sustainability.

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

A former office building in Nørresundby near Aalborg in northern Denmark has been transformed into a modern student housing complex with 220 rooms. The entrance and many of the communal facilities are found on the ground floor, while the accommodation is distributed across five floors, while a penthouse and adjoining roof terrace occupy the uppermost floor.

The building has been revamped, and its ‘office feel’ replaced with a more varied look, with external fibre-concrete ‘shelving’ supporting balconies in varying depths to give the building a greater diversity of scale. The students have their own room and bathroom, and some of the rooms have balconies, while the kitchens are shared by 9-12 residents. It is in the kitchens that the students meet spontaneously, and informal communities emerge.

Arkitema Architects were responsible for the conversion work and the interior design of the complex and have expertly created a both welcoming and robust feel. In the communal kitchens and corridors, Troldtekt acoustic panels in natural wood have been installed, and blend in beautifully with the other materials and colours.

Sustainable ceilings

To mark the occasion of the PFA Foundation’s centenary, PFA Pension has been behind an initiative to build student housing in four Danish cities – including Aalborg. All the projects are characterised by a strong focus on learning, a sense of community and sustainability.

In converting the office building into student housing, one of the main priorities was using sustainable materials that are durable and have a low environmental impact while also having a positive effect on the indoor climate. PFA Dorm is expecting to receive DGNB Silver certification for, among other things, the focus on using sustainable materials throughout the conversion project.

All the high ceilings on the ground floor are clad with Troldtekt in natural grey to ensure good acoustics in the study rooms as well as in the launderette and music room. Again, while enjoying views of the inlet and Aalborg across the water, students have access to a wide range of communal activities and facilities centred around learning, creating a sense of community and sustainability.