Contech Student Dorms

Location and Site:

The project is located in Al Alamian New City (Alexandria - Egypt) near the campus of the Al Alamain University at a distance of 121m.

The area of the site is nearly about 30.287m2 and it is bounded by two streets. The main street is with width 100m and the secondary street 33.5m. The total built-up area is 14.100 m 2 which is considered 46.5% of the overall area of the site.

Project Brief:

The chosen project is Students’ Dorms for university students who study at the new Egyptian universities in Al Alamain New City and who needs an accommodation close to their university. The dorms are designed to face COVID-19 challenges through several hygiene and sanitization considerations that were applied through the project. Also, the project includes different environmental treatments.

The project consists of a main building (an administration and services for students) with an area of 426m2. It contains isolation rooms at the main entrance, central control room, offices, dining area and other services. The main building (which contains all the students’ services) is in the middle of the site so that it can be reached and accessible from all sides by the students.

Also, the project contains accommodation units made of pre-fabricated containers distributed as follows:

20 single rooms, each with area 14.4 m2

100 double rooms each with area 14.4 m2

54 triple rooms each with area 28.8 m2

Therefore, the minimum number of students in the dorms 382 students.

The number of containers used 228 containers. 

The maximum container height is 3 meters with the availability of a vertical future extension. In this way, the number of students could be maximized.

Project Concept:

The main concept is derived by searching for methods to eliminate the spread of the virus and to minimize its negative effects. Therefore, combining both technology and engineering were the best solution. This took place by joining between new innovative technologies (circuits of electricity) and new architectural structures (pre-fabricated shipping containers).

On one side, the technological circuits of electricity connect the whole site together as a grid that pumps life to containers and control all life aspects like; infrastructure and electricity wires, computerized temperature sensors for all containers which are connected to the central control room in the main building, laundry shuttles, food and medicine shuttles.

On the other side, the pre-fabricated shipping containers were the chosen structure as it will be manufactured in factories under precautionary measures, then rapidly installed in site, therefore decreasing labor, accordingly the possibility of infection between workers and control the construction period.


Space Function:

The container is designed with an area of 14.4m2 and with dimensions 2.40m * 6.00m * 3.00m to achieve the smallest area although with the most comfortable proportions.

To take advantage of this small area and fulfil the optimal utilization of the active area, multi-function furniture was used to change the function of each space. As each room is divided into 3 zones; the first zone is used as a bedroom and it can be closed and converted to a sofa to become a living area or a study area by using a desk for working. The second zone is an open kitchenette with a wall mounted dining table to convert it to dining zone and finally the third zone is the bathroom.


Structure System and Building Materials:

The students’ units are made from modular shipping containers for single, double and triple bedrooms.

Building with shipping containers is a form of architecture that uses steel frames as structural system. The use of containers as a building material has grown in popularity over the past several years due to their inherit strength, wide availability and relatively low expense. Also, they are seen more eco-friendly than conventional building materials such as cement and brick.

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