The future of affordable housing is floating metal boxes. You might reach that conclusion, at least, looking at a new building project from Bjarke Ingels Group in Copenhagen. Called Urban Rigger, this new development uses interlocking shipping containers to create affordable studios for 12 student residents. So far, that may sound like another familiar exercise in container urbanism, but for one key detail: Urban Rigger doesn’t rest on solid earth. Its units are tethered to a floating platform, now moored on the quayside at the mouth of Copenhagen’s inner harbor.
It’s Copenhagen’s particular challenges—familiar to many cities—that have seen them float up in this direction. Land in the city is scarce and expensive, meaning there are few viable places in which to construct new affordable housing. The city’s harbor still offers ample unbuilt space (though this too is steadily being nibbled into) even if it is of the watery kind. This pilot project is thus able to offer studios for just $600 a month very close to the city’s heart.