The College Dorm You Wish You Lived In

A university in Denmark has created a circular dorm that will make you incredibly frustrated at the tiny double room where you spent your college years. Bet you didn’t have french windows, balconies, and a bike workshop.

If you’re lucky, maybe you went to a college on a campus with fancy, new college dorms. If you’re not, you may have lived in a tiny box-like room in an uninspired building. Regardless of your dorm living situation (or lack thereof), it’s hard not to be envious of the students who get to live in Copenhagen’s Tietgen Student Hall (Tietgenkollegiet), a 288,000-square-foot, seven-story building designed as a communal space for residence. Among the building’s features:

  • All rooms face outwards, thanks to the building’s circular space (a symbol of its equality and communal nature). That means everyone gets ample natural light.
  • The rooms all have energy-efficient floor heating and their own showers and toilets (a big bonus for anyone who has shared a bathroom with their entire dorm hall).
  • Every room has either a French window or a balcony.
  • 30 kitchens in the building, each of which has four fridges and two stoves.
  • A ground floor given over almost entirely to common facilities, including a bike room, two music rooms, a gym, a computer room, a study room, an assembly hall, and an outdoor area for basketball and other sports.
  • Three workshops: a sewing workshop, a bike workshop, and a wood workshop.

In the U.S., universities are quickly figuring out that they must add amenities to attract students—they’re featuring everything from climbing walls to sustainable improvements—but Tietgenkollegiet offers an impressive combination of energy efficiency and community building.

Check out pictures of Tietgenkollegiet (designed by architects Lundgaard & Tranberg) in the slide show above.

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  • Suzy

    Not so sure about the benefits to the energy efficiency.  I like the features that improve natural light -- but why 30 kitchens with so many fridges plugged in and running all the time? Aren't cafeterias more energy-efficient, I wonder, than, say, everyone cooking alone or in smaller groups?  Is it energy-efficient or greener for everyone to have their own bathroom?  Co-existence isn't always about convenience or luxury. 

    Come to think of it, being at a pared-down university, with all the sharing that goes on, may be the time in your life when you have the smallest "footprint" -- maybe that's the heart of co-existence.

  • CitizenWhy

    After WWII, Denmark, under the guidance of people from the USA, began to fully implement FDR's Second Bill of Rights. As a result, the generous and well integrated Danish social benefit system was often called, up to the end of the 60's, "The American Plan." O the irony!

  • John Russo

    Evan - I completely agree - that looks like a wonderful place to live... and I'm an empty nester!

  • Jacob Katz

    I'll pass. It's not that it's not nice. It is very nice. And it likely serves its purpose well, to entice young, hip, green students to the school. But what I actually LIKE about your typical American university dorm (and it may be exactly the same elsewhere but I have no experience with Euro or Asian dorm norms) is their generic nature. It means that the often teem with pockets of individuality...yes, you still have the frat boys, but you have tons of other groups...all with their sincere and unique personalities. Because it is generic, it doesn't entice all of the same type of people.

    With all due respect to the Tietgenkollegiet (and I fully admit that I may be wrong here), I imagine that all of the people that live there are the same or very similar. If you will permit a bit of stereotyping, I imagine a lot of green-thinking, liberal, art-loving, pseudo hippies. And to be clear, I am NOT lamenting that type of student...I just wish it were balanced with a few Young Republicans, a couple of Applied Mathematics students, and maybe even one or two frat boy/sorority girl phenotypes. It is slightly ironic that universities around the world want diversity but then produce policies and even buildings that might limit said diversity.

  • Samantha Don Robbins

    You could not be more wrong about the diversity in Tietgen. Having lived in Tietgen for one year and two years in a regular American university dorm, I encountered an equal amount of diversity in both residences. In my kitchen (in building 18 floor 6) I lived with four economics/business majors, two Danish language students, two history students, one communications major, and one mathematics. There were students who were both far left and far right leaning and plenty somewhere in the middle... we even had one student who was involved in a conservative, anti-immigration party and was very much not your typical "pseudo hippy."
    As far as the greek life... it is non-existent in Denmark and is strictly an American phenomenon. Despite that fact I could see some of the Danish boys and girls I lived with fitting right in with Kappa Kappa Gamma girls and Sigma Chi boys back at my home university.

    And Chandler... there are no wood carving classes offered at Tietgen. There was a student demand and they decided to offer the space to those inhabitants who wanted to build furniture, or make repairs.

    You both have no facts upon which you are basing your "arguements." And as a person who has experienced life in Tietgen, and is basing my opinions on actual experience and fact, I wish American Universities would take a look at this wonderful piece of Danish design and architecture and learn something. 

  • Brad Altemeyer

    Thanks for your comment/ better than n=0 I need to visit Denmark sometime, I've only stopped by a few other places in Europe. Of course, ANY DORMS would be an interesting addition to South Texas College (we don't have any -yet).

  • Anonymouscoward

     Wow. Your entire objection is based on what kind of people you "imagine" live there? And then you lament that universities are limiting diversity because of what happens inside your imagination?