G27 Global Institute from Macro Sea and CIEE are stylish digs for study abroad students.

Berlin’s New Stylish Student Housing Doesn’t Look Anything Like Standard Dingy Dorms

Berlin’s New Stylish Student Housing Doesn’t Look Anything Like Standard Dingy Dorms

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Sept. 22 2015 1:34 PM

Berlin’s New Stylish Student Housing Doesn’t Look Anything Like Standard Dingy Dorms

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A common area at the recently opened G27 Global Institute in Berlin, a housing complex for study abroad students.

Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

Trends like the rise of the designer youth hostel attest that people of all ages now expect accommodations with more thoughtful design, a premise that is fueling a revolution in private student housing in cities like London, where a new breed of design-conscious, amenities-packed housing complexes is reinventing the standard dingy dorm.

In August, New York City–based developer Macro Sea, along with CIEE, the oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization in the U.S., launched the G27 Global Institute in Berlin.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

Calling the complex “a groundbreaking design-centric residence for students studying abroad,” the developers say in a project description that they approached the student digs with “the best category of design in mind, treating the increasingly sophisticated and mobile student population as travelers seeking authenticity.”

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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And what broadcasts authenticity more than a century-old industrial building in the middle of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood converted into an 85,000-square-foot “vertical campus” where dorms, classrooms, dining facilities, and common spaces mingle under the same roof?  

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

Recognizing that “student’s tastes for housing have long evolved from traditional mass-produced dorm room furniture, ping pong tables and dilapidated couches,” Macro Sea created the kind of student housing, with a consciously pared-down neo-industrial aesthetic and quirky mix of reclaimed furniture and raw materials, that looks like a slightly less gimmicky version of the new generation offices that students will transition to after graduation.

Communal spaces filled with Danish, vintage, and repurposed local furniture; a monumental fireplace; a marble bar and café; and layered lighting create the requisite multiple social hubs, including community kitchens and a variety of lounge spaces decorated with art and photographs.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

The 200-bed dorms are the “antithesis of the institutional dorm room setup,” the developers say, with furniture salvaged from the property before demolition and flexible layouts.*

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

Since opening in mid-August, the G27 Global Institute is home to 110 students. Macro Sea says that they have plans to expand with similar projects in London, Rome, Paris, and beyond in the next few years.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

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Photo by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea.

*Correction, Sept. 22, 2015: This post originally misstated the number of units in the G27 Global Institute. It has 200 beds, not 200 rooms.

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.