Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This

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By Sarah Akkoush / Published by Dwell
In Poznan, Poland, architect Adam Wierciński transforms a 1929 residential flat into student dwellings for four.

Student housing conjures images that are anything but glamorous: basic, utilitarian, and sterile spaces are par for the course. Architect Adam Wierciński challenged this norm when he reimagined this 1929 apartment as living quarters for four students. He aimed to selectively preserve original architectural details where possible. Starting with an already compact apartment, Wierciński’s team got creative to extract four distinct private living spaces and common areas, all in less than 900 square feet.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 1 of 7 - Each student room has a dedicated workspace that's clean, bright, and functional. Objects and furniture had to be carefully selected or designed to make the apartment work: for instance, the steel desk was custom designed by Wierciński’s firm to double as a radiator cover.

Each student room has a dedicated workspace that's clean, bright, and functional. Objects and furniture had to be carefully selected or designed to make the apartment work: for instance, the steel desk was custom designed by Wierciński’s firm to double as a radiator cover.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 2 of 7 - The subdued white and grey interiors help highlight details such as the flat's original wood floors. Apart from the blue bathroom identifiers and room markers, the only other colors used are the occassional orange and green, the same hues that are used in several of Wierciński’s other projects.

The subdued white and grey interiors help highlight details such as the flat's original wood floors. Apart from the blue bathroom identifiers and room markers, the only other colors used are the occassional orange and green, the same hues that are used in several of Wierciński’s other projects.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 3 of 7 - Working within the constraints of a modest budget, the design team creatively mixed custom-designed pieces with more affordable items. For example, the shared kitchen features a Franke kitchen sink and IKEA cabinetry and appliances. Framing the kitchen wall, an old gymnasium ladder adds an historical touch. The biggest challenge of the project, says Wierciński, was to "execute a low budget project with a unique original style."

Working within the constraints of a modest budget, the design team creatively mixed custom-designed pieces with more affordable items. For example, the shared kitchen features a Franke kitchen sink and IKEA cabinetry and appliances. Framing the kitchen wall, an old gymnasium ladder adds an historical touch. The biggest challenge of the project, says Wierciński, was to "execute a low budget project with a unique original style."

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 4 of 7 - Two green accent walls—one seen here in the dining room—are the only departures from the strategically white backdrop. Wierciński and team designed the dining table and its orange steel frame, along with the seating benches and wall-mounted seat backs. A Sticks pendant light from Nowodvorski illuminates the space.

Two green accent walls—one seen here in the dining room—are the only departures from the strategically white backdrop. Wierciński and team designed the dining table and its orange steel frame, along with the seating benches and wall-mounted seat backs. A Sticks pendant light from Nowodvorski illuminates the space.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 5 of 7 - One student bedroom features the second green accent wall. Each bedroom is about 140 square feet and includes places for sleeping and studying, plus built-in IKEA wardrobes. The custom desk is paired with an orange IKEA chair. The small metal accent table and magnetic wall board are also by Wierciński.

One student bedroom features the second green accent wall. Each bedroom is about 140 square feet and includes places for sleeping and studying, plus built-in IKEA wardrobes. The custom desk is paired with an orange IKEA chair. The small metal accent table and magnetic wall board are also by Wierciński.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 6 of 7 - The bathroom features graphic eye-catching Vives floor tiles surrounded by Opoczno wall tiles and clean white plumbing fixtures. The custom-designed orange sink frame adds a whimsical pop of color.

The bathroom features graphic eye-catching Vives floor tiles surrounded by Opoczno wall tiles and clean white plumbing fixtures. The custom-designed orange sink frame adds a whimsical pop of color.

Our Dorm Definitely Did Not Look Like This - Photo 7 of 7 - Original transom windows from 1929 were preserved during the two-month renovation.

Original transom windows from 1929 were preserved during the two-month renovation.