Floating Shipping Container Home with Heat Pump - Urban Rigger by Bjarke Ingels Group

Exterior Photos
Interior Photos
Heat Pump
Construction Process
About architect

ProjectUrban Rigger
DesignBjarke Ingels Group
Area300 m²
LocationCopenhagen, Denmark

Description from designers

Urban Rigger is a unique, design protected, patented, floating, flexible, CO2 neutral and mobile property totaling 680 , which is spread over 300  of housing (9 + 3 individual student residence a respectively. 23  – 27 ), a 160  common green courtyard, Kayak landing, Bathing platform, BBQ area, as well as 65  communal roof terrace. Downstairs below sea level, the 230  pontoon (basement), Comprising: 12 storage rooms, technical room and common fully automated laundry.

Designers utilize up-cycled shipping containers to create floating shipping container home.

Shipping container is probably the most optimised infrastructure on the planet. The container system is a uniform system that is used in every continent. Shipping containers are accessible everywhere. The problem arises when shipping container reaches the end of its lifecycle. Depending on global steel prices, shipping containers are either abandoned or melted down. If shipping container is melted down, it will have consumed 8.5 megawatt in its life cycle. So instead of recycling, we are banking on up cycling. In other words, continuing the container’s life cycle in a different way. It costs as little as 450 kilowatts and it does away with the approximately 1,100 tonnes of CO2 required to build a new, traditional home. By revitalizing these old structures we help to maintain a low environmental impact of Urban Riggers.

Sustainable Materials Approach

We want to do our best to preserve our natural capital. The material lifecycle perspective is considered in all our constructions, inside as well as outside. Healthy materials are chosen to create a good indoor climate. Our partners and their technologies are playing a key role in generating heating and cooling, while ensuring internal climate comfort and keeping energy use to a minimum. Instead of using traditional, bulky insulation materials, we are using at aerogel, which was developed for space travel and Aluthermo reflective insulation. It is a form of insulation consisting of thin aluminium foil made from recycled aluminium derived from beer and soda cans, for example.

Social responsibility and Socially responsible graduates

The Urban Rigger floating shipping container home project is primarely developed as student residence. Young people who want to make something of themselves, who have clear ideas about the planet and the future, who want to live close to their friends and their place of education.

Floating Shipping Container Home Exterior Photos

BIG has made every student's dream come true: to live in the midst of a vibrant city like Copenhagen, yet still fall asleep to the peaceful sound of the waves beside the door. And all this in modern studios made of stacked shipping containers that form huge liveable rafts and offer living space on several levels.

In search of new ways to create affordable and attractive housing for the growing number of students, BIG decided to redevelop the Copenhagen port. Danish architects opted for a floating type of construction that any port city can use to generate centrally located construction sites and extend the city out to sea.

The building consists of a total of nine containers - the same containers that leave the port daily and transport goods to the rest of the world. For the construction of the »Urban Rigger«, the architects took advantage of the standardized container system, which offers a cheap, robust structure with flexible use of space. The nine shipping containers can accommodate twelve studios as well as common areas such as the courtyard and the roof terrace. This arrangement creates a mini-district on each pontoon. The floating pontoons can be bundled in the harbor into hexagonal groups to create visual and spatial links with other communities.

These buildings result from the special stacking of containers. The first level consists of three shipping containers arranged in the form of a triangle forming a common courtyard. The corners of the triangle are then separated to create optical connections to the exterior and at the same time a hexagonal courtyard. Another six containers form the second floor and connect the base structure, as each two adjacent containers close the gap below. The structure is held together by a staircase and corridors to the upper living spaces. The courtyard is also protected from wind and weather by glass, providing a pleasant entrance area where you can interact with your neighbors.

The three roof areas have three different functions. To create a more sustainable accommodation, a roof is equipped with solar panels; the second roof is green, while the third offers its inhabitants a panoramic view over the water.

Floating Shipping Container Home Interior

Even from the studios you can enjoy a clear view. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light and create a closeness to the water. The interiors are decorated in white and only sparingly furnished, walls and floors are made of wood. This creates a warm atmosphere in the seemingly unimpressive rooms at first sight.


Heat Pump

An efficient, economical, and above all – environmental responsible and sustainable solution!

As URBAN RIGGER is a floating dwelling, it seemed natural to utilize the surrounding water as a free and clean heating source, utilizing the latest technology from our global partners.

Using the Seawater as a natural source of heat, is not only clever, but has a number of exiting advantages:

  • The heat transfer rate from water is higher than using the ground as a heat source.
  • The water is in close contact with the entire pipe at all times enhancing its efficiency.
  • The flow/circulation of water provides constant energy replacement.
  • The return temperature to the heat pump is generally 5-6°C higher than ground collectors, increasing the efficiency of the Danfoss heat pump in the URBAN RIGGER.

A cold-water anti-freeze mix is pumped through a series of energy absorbing non-corrosive hydro pex pipes in the base slab of the hull on URBAN RIGGER. As heat naturally flows from warmer to cooler places, the anti-freeze mix circulating around the array is constantly warmed by the sea’s low-grade heat.

During summer months, harbor water hovers around 18-21 degrees Celsius, and the URBAN RIGGER floating shipping container home sends heated water through 800 meters of hydro pex-pipes to the apartments, where the off-grid-connected 5 kWh-capacity Danfoss heat pump , boost temperatures to between 40-55 degrees Celsius for heating and warm water through the system for floor heating and utility water.

In winter months, when seawater temperatures dip as low as 2 degrees Celsius, the heat exchanger boosts water temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius, witch is the perfect level water temperature each apartment requires for comfort and enjoyable living in the winter months.

An Efficient, Economical, and above all, an Environmental responsible and sustainable Solution.  The Danfoss 5 KW heat pump combined with a 7,5 Kwh Hanwha Q-Cells PV panel solution on the URBAN RIGGER roof, charging the dual 3,5 KW Lit-Ion battery banks, creates the sustainable and cost-effective heating source needed, generating a whopping 17,5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of heat from just 1kWh of electricity, reducing the coefficient of performance for the heat pump, while reducing emissions by 81% compared to conventional heating using natural gas, grid or oil as a power source.

Construction Process


Address Refshalevej, 1432 Refshaleøen, Denmark

Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG is a Copenhagen, New York, London and Barcelona based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors. The office is currently involved in a large number of projects throughout Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. Not least due to the influence from multicultural exchange, global economical flows and communication technologies that all together require new ways of architectural and urban organization. We believe that in order to deal with today’s challenges, architecture can profitably move into a field that has been largely unexplored. A pragmatic utopian architecture that steers clear of the petrifying pragmatism of boring boxes and the naïve utopian ideas of digital formalism. Like a form of programmatic alchemy we create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking and shopping. By hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, we architects once again find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms.


Address Kløverbladsgade 56, 2500 Valby, Copenhagen, Denmark
Phone +4572217227
Website https://www.big.dk
Email big@big.dk


Address 2 Finsbury Avenue, Ground Floor, London EC2M 2PA, UK
Email lon@big.dk

New York

Address 45 Main Street, 9th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Phone +1 347 549 4141
Email nyc@big.dk


Official websitehttp://www.urbanrigger.com

Floating Shipping Container Home with Heat Pump - Urban Rigger by Bjarke Ingels Group