Smart student unit
by Tengbom


Smart student unit by Tengbom

Swedish firm Tengbom has designed a ten square-metre wooden house for students.

Smart student unit by Tengbom

Linda Camara and Pontus Åqvist of Tengbom architects worked in collaboration with students from Lund University in Sweden to create the living unit, which is meant to be "affordable and sustainable".

"Through an efficient layout and the use of cross-laminated wood as a construction material, the rent is reduced by 50 percent and the ecological impact and carbon footprint is also significantly reduced," said Camara.

Smart student unit by Tengbom

Inside the unit there is a small kitchenette with shelving and green storage cupboards, a small bathroom and a loft for sleeping that is accessed via small wooden steps fixed to the wall.

Two window shutters on the lower level can be folded down to use as a dining table and a desk. Under the loft area there is a hammock.

Smart student unit by Tengbom

"The main issue was to design really smart units with no unnecessary space," Camara told Dezeen. "Only well-designed space is afforded when designing for small living."

Smart student unit by Tengbom

The unit is constructed from cross-laminated wood that was sawn and shaped by timber firm Martinsons and mounted on site by Swedish building firm Ulestedt.

"Since this is a fairly new material on the Swedish market, we wanted to show the qualities, such as the possibilities to make the non-rectangular forms," Camara said. "It is easier to make round corners than sharp 90-degrees."

Smart student unit by Tengbom

In 2014, 22 of the student units will be built and ready for students in Sweden to move into.

One of the student micro-homes is currently on display at the Virserum Art Museum as part of the Wood 2013 exhibition, which is open until 8 December 2013.

Smart student unit by Tengbom

Other micro-homes featured on Dezeen recently include a cloud-shaped holiday home that sits next to a lake in south-west France and a concept for narrow apartments that fill tiny gaps between existing buildings.

See more micro-houses »
See more student housing »

Smart student unit by Tengbom

Photography is by Bertil Hertzberg.

Here's more information from the architects:

Tengbom Architects design a smart student flat

A student flat of only 10 square metres is currently exhibited at the Virserum Art Museum in the county Småland, Sweden.

Smart student unit by Tengbom

Tengbom Architects has designed a student flat for students which is affordable, environmental-friendly and smart both in terms of design and choice of materials. The project is a collaboration with wood manufacturer Martinsons and real estate company AF Bostäder.

Smart student unit by Tengbom
Plan - click for larger image

To meet the needs of students in a sustainable, smart and affordable way was the key questions when Tengbom in collaboration with students at the University of Lund was designing this student flat of 10 square meters. The unit is now displayed in Virserum Art Museum. In 2014, 22 units will be built and ready for students to move into.

To successfully build affordable student housing requires innovative thinking and new solutions. The area in each unit is reduced from current requirement, 25 square meters to 10 square meters through legal consent. This truly compact-living flat still offers a comfortable sleeping-loft, kitchen, bathroom and a small garden with a patio. Through an efficient layout and the use of cross laminated wood as a construction material the rent is reduced by 50 % and the ecological impact and carbon footprints is also significantly reduced.

Smart student unit by Tengbom
Section - click for larger image

Energy efficiency is a key issue when designing new buildings. Choosing right material and manufacturing methods is vital to minimise the carbon emission and therefore wood was chosen for its carbon positive qualities, and as a renewable resource it can be sourced locally to minimize transportation. The manufacturer method was chosen because of is flexible production and for it’s assembling technique which can be done on site to reduce construction time.

Smart student unit by Tengbom
Section - click for larger image

By exhibiting this well planned and sustainable student flat we want to challenge the conventional views and show new ways of thinking. What is good living? What materials can we use? To meet the future in a sustainable way we must be innovative in all aspects and have the courage to break new ground, says Linda Camara at Tengbom Architects.

Location: Virserums Konsthall Kyrkogatan 34, 570 80 Virserum
Architect: Linda Camara & Pontus Åqvist, Tengbom
Assistent Architect: Lina Rengstedt, Olof Nordenson, Magnus Juhlin

  • Mr J

    Those wide-radius curves give it too much of a ‘Wendy House’ look for my taste. But I’d find a straighter-edge version very interesting. It could be a real asset as a granny flat, guest or teen accommodation, or a garden office.

  • jerzy

    How is the timber sink supposed to work?

  • AJ

    I’m not sure how students are supposed to have sex in that tiny elevated bed. This whole thing is just badly thought out from a user perspective…

    • Jack

      I’m pretty confident students will find a way…

    • Fed Fef

      By not being obese?

    • Sean McCloy

      I think they would have zero problem getting happy in this unit.

  • Shane

    I felt sorry for the trees.

  • Shelby

    The wooden surfaces will be in a terrible state after just one year. Student accommodation needs to be wipe down and re-paintable!

  • Jenny

    I like the design as short-stay accommodation, but as a student I spend a lot of time in my room doing work and spending the best part of a year cooped up in such a small space would drive me crazy (and I doubt I’d fit my drawing board on that small table!).

    Maybe I’d like it more if they opened out into a large communal area where you can relax, study and socialise.

  • maria gil ulldemolins

    Garden office! Exactly what I was thinking! (Or hey, terrace office).

  • Jaci

    These always look so good….without anything in them. It’s suitable for a dorm room but would be more interesting if it connected to a large common room.

  • Victor

    – It reduces the living space of a human being to the minimum, are they serious? They seem even proud of reducing it from 25sqm to 10sqm, saying that they follow the law. No words.

    – It deafens individualisation. It separates us from the other. This idea matches well with capitalism, iPods, consumption… and it dresses it up with fashion shapes, colours, and even words! (why does the door have that shape, why do I have to live with green-painted parts all around, why is it ‘smart’?)

    – It’s good to reduce 50% of the carbon footprint, but if they didn’t provide all that ugly furniture, students would be able pick up some recycled tables, chairs or whatever from the street, and decrease that level. Sustainability is again a slogan.

    – There is enough ideology in that green color used on the furniture, that all the internet will believe that they’re actually ‘green’. Sorry, ‘sustainable’. Hej, there’s also enough manipulation from governments. Please architects, let’s not do that.

    – It’s hard to believe that one house (with its five well-insulated walls, facing exterior!) for one person is sustainable, specially in a climate where temperatures are under 0º during ¾ ‘s of the year.

    Good luck future inhabitant!

  • Randy Geyer


    • CrankyFranky

      Fine if there’s a mixed sex student sauna next door.

  • Andrew Cropper Wakeman

    Still need land to put it on thats the hardest part. Not everyone has access.