Personalized space, modern architecture, micro-housing and other construction trends at North America’s universities.
Choosing a university is not just about the quality of the program anymore: the living accommodations available will also influence the decision. Across the country, colleges and universities are providing options for living that are better than ever.
Understanding those trends and how they allow institutions of higher learning to attract more students is essential if a school wants to remain competitive.
What Triggered the Newest Trends in Student Housing?
Several factors have led to the current boom in new student housing designs, such as making better use of campus space. With institutions that are essentially land-locked, the potential of acquiring more land is out of the question. Instead of attempting to build outward, the goal is to build upward. More living space means more students who increase the revenue generated by the institution.
Students are also more discriminating in terms of their surroundings. They want easy access to amenities that once meant a walk into town or at least across the campus. Listening to what current and prospective students say positions the institution for holding on to students who might be tempted to transfer to another school. It also means attracting new students who keep the institution at maximum capacity every year.
Adding Amenities to the Housing
Different institutions have added amenities based on feedback from students and ideas gathered from national trends.
In terms of places to spend time in the building, snack bars and coffee shops are becoming popular. Fitness centers including pools and rock climbing walls mean there is no need to trudge across the campus in the rain to work out. Services like laundry, dry cleaning, and housekeeping allow students to spend more time on their studies and less on mundane tasks.
While many of the newer features focus on function, some are intended to provide spaces that are inviting and encourage students to socialize. The common areas may include things like reflecting pools, lounging areas with plenty of natural light, and walls designed specifically for the display of different artwork. In this way, the housing is not a sterile environment, but one that appeals to all of the senses.
Thinking Up and Not Out
Even when buying more land is a possibility, choosing to build up and not out makes sense. Consider the advantages of student housing that is anywhere from five to 30 stories high. Now add in a parking garage with enough space to accommodate two cars for every unit in the building. It doesn’t take long to see how this approach makes better use of land already in the possession of the school.
This approach is not just about using space that the university already own; there is also a cost factor. Constructing multiple buildings for student housing is expensive. The amount of materials and labor needed to create five two-story buildings would be much more than constructing a single unit equipped with 15 stories.
The savings are not limited to construction costs. Choosing to build up instead of out will mean that heating and cooling student housing will be a fraction of what it would be with multiple buildings. This is especially true when the decision is made to incorporate solar panels or other alternative sources of energy into the general building plan.
Incorporating the Idea of Micro-Housing
One of the prevailing trends in this student housing construction boom has to do with micro-housing. Instead of the older two-bed dorm room approach, students are provided with miniature spaces set up for sleeping, study, and preparing simple meals. Thanks to efficient use of the square footage, it’s possible to create private space for each student.
Freeing up more square footage ensures that the common areas can be larger and more user-friendly. The design can include one floor sporting a larger dining area for parties, plus a living area that includes comfortable seating for socializing or watching television with friends. Some designs include study kiosks that are large enough for a student and tutor to work without being interrupted.
Architectural Trends and the New Housing
While some schools are opting for taller structures that blend in with the older buildings on campus, other institutions are opting for designs that are more contemporary. Sleek designs lend themselves well to defining uses for the interior space and using every square inch to best advantage.
The elements included in the design address practical concerns like keeping the common spaces clean, including colors that will not fall out of favor after a few years, and ensuring that the cost of repair and replacement is maintained within an acceptable range.
The bottom line is that student housing that is convenient, affordable, and includes features students can put to good use will influence where they choose to pursue an education. Choosing to invest in modern student housing now means that the university not only has the academic reputation to attract students, but the environment to ensure they remain until they earn their degrees.