Bard College Berlin Student Residences
Berlin, Germany

Following a year defined for many by isolation and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bard College Berlin marked a new era in its campus life with the opening of two brand new student housing residences developed by DBI Projects that embody the ideals of communal living and learning. Standing in complete contrast to the pervasive tradition of housing students in small, uninviting spaces, these new facilities foster organic interaction between students and engagement with the artistic, political, and cultural center of Europe. As leader of the development from its inception, DBI is deeply gratified to have brought high quality and affordable living spaces to fruition on time and on budget that fulfill the college’s need for more beds while creating significant added value through the thoughtful design.

Located in the city’s Pankow neighborhood, the former East Berlin embassy district, the fraternal twin red and gray brick buildings array 39 apartments to house 120 students. New York City based design firm Civilian drew inspiration from German architect and urban planner Bruno Taut and the Metropolis-era masonry Expressionist architecture of the 1920s. The student residences are emblematic of apartment-style living that’s authentic to Berlin and encourages students to immerse themselves in the city’s renowned social, cultural, and political scenes.

Mindful of creating a flexible environment for open social exchange, living and learning, the layout of the dormitories fosters community amongst the residents through the use of a landscaped courtyard that forms a gathering place on the ground floor of each building. To fill the abundance of common spaces throughout, Civilian designed a suite of custom furniture that takes inspiration from the pared down utility of 1920s furniture by Dutch designers Gerrit Rieeitveld and Ko Verzuu, as well as artists Donald Judd and Andrea Zittel. In the public lounge and cafe spaces, refinished vintage furniture from the 70's and 80's contrasts with the custom millwork and paneling that has been placed throughout.

Managing a project on a separate continent through planning, financing, design and construction, and through the many supply chain and other challenges that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, required the backing of our capable and knowledgeable development partners in Berlin: Papillon Investment and Asset Vision Partners. Their support was pivotal in delivering this project on time and under budget.

Bard College Berlin’s new dormitory facilities build on the success of the G27 Academic Campus, also located in Berlin, developed by DBI, and designed by Civilian.