Strong sense of community for students

The new student accommodation complex PFA Kollegiet in Odense consists of 298 flats arranged in the shape of a bow tie – and designed with the express purpose of supporting a strong sense of community. The students live in groups with shared kitchens serving as informal meeting places for the individual groups.

Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

On the occasion of the centenary of PFA Pension in 2017, the pension company initiated the construction of student accommodation in the four largest cities in Denmark. The student flats are primarily for children and grandchildren of PFA customers. Both the design process and the final results have been deeply inspired by the key concepts of community feeling, learning environment and sustainability.

The first project to be completed in Odense in 2020 is designed as a classic complex of student flats, arranged into small units with shared kitchens and living areas. Arkitema designed the complex and has successfully integrated the three key concepts into all aspects of the project.

The outdoor areas between the buildings as well as the external walkways are designed as spaces for the students to meet up and hang out as well as for larger events. Moreover, terraces or balconies can be accessed from the kitchens.


The complex is divided into two connected four-storey blocks where each living group shares a kitchen, dining area and TV lounge. This ensures a social element both outdoors and indoors. At the heart of PFA Kollegiet are a number of shared facilities for the residents, including meeting rooms as well as more open environments, where the students can meet in their study groups or immerse themselves in individual study.

As a concept, sustainability embraces both social sustainability and all the various choices made when it comes to building materials, installations and the quality of the indoor climate. The Troldtekt ceilings installed in all communal rooms and facilities is a good example of a material that is robust, has minimal environmental impact and a positive effect on the indoor climate, including the acoustics.

The complex is DGNB-certified at Gold level and thus meets strict requirements when it comes to its long-term environmental footprint as well as the steps taken to ensure the well-being of the residents.