Have you heard of Frankie & Johnny yet? They belong to the so called new Berliners as they moved here at the beginning of 2014. Frankie & Johhny are edgy and green. But most of all, the are an alternative for the many students that face finding an affordable, nice flat in Berlin a nightmare. Cheap, spacious tenements in the metropolitan are nowadays a myth. Welcome to the brand new, container student village in Berlin!
Once I heard about this project, I jumped on my bike and cycled to a nearby Plänterwald to take part in a guided tour of the object. There were only four of us, and that the manager of the project who was our guide was very friendly. We had time to task many questions and visit all the nooks and crannies of Franky & Johhny.
Plänterwald belongs to the Berlin’s borough Treptow-Köpenick and is situated next to the 89 ha park Spreepark. Being additionally located next to the S-Bahn train station with a direct connection to the Adlershof campus of Humboldt University, as well as bordering with an alternative, lively Neukölln, makes it an up and coming green oasis, not only for students.
This is how the container village looked like in September 2014. Still in the making yet already habitable, it has been booked by some 400 students coming from all over the world. The idea came from Amsterdam and the former cargo containers were shipped from Hamburg. Stacked upon one another, the containers were converted into 1, 2 and 3 bedroom, fully furnished flats. All utilities including high-speed internet and an ikea-like, minimalist interior come as a package for 389 Euro per month. Of course, the project complies with all health and safety regulations. A big cafe in the ground floor as well as urban gardening initiatives will surely turn the container village into a lively, creative community.
Until recently this area of Plänterwald had been slightly deserted. Franky and Johhny are to be kept fence-free and thus encourage the neighbours alike passersby to walk about and have a look. Apparently, the idea has been greatly welcomed, especially by the elderly citizens, who have expressed their interest in coming along to socialise and use their spare time for doing gardening.