Architecture, News I 26.08.15 I by

Macro Sea converts a Berlin factory into a student campus

New York developer Macro Sea has transformed a former factory in Berlin’s Kreuzberg into a student residence and campus.

The G27 Global Institute holds accommodation for more than 200 people, as well as teaching rooms, a bar and café. Students can enjoy bedrooms equipped with custom-made furniture and living areas with fireplaces.

Opening this month, the 85,000 sq ft space will be run by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which specialises in programmes for foreign students.

Macro Sea served as both designer and developer in the revamp of the 100-year-old factory complex.

‘Our overall approach was to treat our resident students as guests rather than wards of an institution,’ says founder David Belt. ‘This was implemented by really caring about and designing great community spaces.’

Macro Sea G27 Berlin
Photography: Chris Mosier

A five-storey front building and a six-storey structure at the back, separated by a courtyard, make up the complex. The ‘H-shape’ of the floor plan gave it a ‘community feel’, says Belt, lending itself to adaptive reuse as a campus.

‘The air and light is magnificent – we considered those as important design elements and true assets,’ he adds. ‘Maintaining the structure and the columns rather than fighting them felt right and allowed us to celebrate the historic details and enhance them with some new interventions.’

Macro Sea designed the furniture inside the G27 bedrooms, which students can reconfigure according to their needs. Interiors throughout the complex are fitted with a mix of Danish, Bavarian vintage and more Macro Sea-designed furniture.

Macro Sea G27 Berlin
Photography: Chris Mosier

Away from the rooms, a large communal space is at the heart of the campus, featuring several seating areas with reclaimed furniture salvaged from the area. Each floor also has a community kitchen and other joint living areas filled with local contemporary art.

‘Creating spaces that allow those shared experiences to happen is key,’ said Belt, who suggested that this type of co-housing could translate to a wider demographic beyond just students.

‘Everyone is a student really. We all love to learn and have new experience when we travel and meet new people.’

Tomo is a London-based writer covering design and architecture. He contributes to The Spaces.

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