Arup Community Engagement


Want to talk to us? Contact Us

Arup Community Engagement logo

Arup Community Engagement

Project overview


  • Arup supported a Berlin based, public residential company to develop a modular housing prototype for micro-apartments for students and (potentially) refugees
  • Low-budget timber construction with extremely short construction periods, in order to address a very high demand for student and refugee housing units (15.000 units in the next few years)
  • Arup Disciplines involved: Structure, Project Management, Fire, Building Physics, Acoustics, MEP

The aim of our public client is to build up 2.500 apartments for students in Berlin plus optional 13.500 units for refugees until 2020. Arup’s task was to develop a modular timber prototype for a low-cost, but sustainable and durable building that can be constructed in extremely short time.
Arup performed a series of workshops, together with a team of external experts and the client’s team in order find an optimal solution.

In a second step, outline specifications have been developed by Arup for three selected prototype options and the client tested the market against budget expectations.

In a third step Arup supported one General contractor during the bidding and design phase and finally the client decided to build Arup’s preferred prototype, which is a timber-concrete-hybrid construction. Construction start for the first prototype was in Summer 2016.

Arup was working at the project with a multidisciplinary team of all relevant disciplines.

The Community

Increasing demand on living space makes it more and more difficult to find low-priced apartments in Berlin.  Especially for students without any regular income there will be a huge growth of needed space in the next years. Furthermore there are accommodations needed for thousands of refugees at this time.

The developed concept of modular construction allows to build up low-priced micro-apartments in a very short time. This helps to fight upcoming housing shortage in Berlin. Our concept of micro apartments will be built at many different places in Berlin and the sustainable design of the buildings will upgrade the appearance of several areas.

Our project Partners

Our client Berlinovo Immobilien mbH is a 100 percent daughter of the state of Berlin. To counteract housing shortage our client has the political order to create 2.500 new apartments for students in Berlin until 2020 plus optional 13.500 apartments for refugees. The developed concept enables to build up several residential buildings at the same time by different contractors. Hence more new apartments can be built at the same time, then possible by using a contractor-specific construction system. In addition the huge flexibility guarantees an efficient follow-up use for the aspired life time of 40 years.


Arup´s team demonstrated its special expertise and local knowledge and was working with full enthusiasm at the project. This made it possible to deliver a holistic concept which considers all essential aspects. Especially we can be proud of the achievement of bringing many sustainable topics into the project.

Despite the project duration was very short all members of the team were able to bring a high levelled input to the concept of our prototype.

See what else is happening