Student housing is on its own island, and it requires a totally different design approach than any other type of multifamily building. First and foremost, it has to be carefully designed to appeal to students and parents. New communities focused on college renters must offer student areas focused on school productivity, as well as fun social spots that celebrate college life. Successfully blending these two crucial components will win the hearts of renters and parents so the community can be fully rented by the start of the school year.
Study spots are a no-brainer for student housing, but how they are implemented into the overall amenity plan has a big effect on whether the spaces are actually usable. Offering multiple smaller, differently configured spaces where students can switch up their daily routines is important. Booths, tables, pods, isolation rooms, and group study sitting are all key. These study spaces should be fully equipped with outlets, charging stations and comfortable seating so students will want to stay for an extended period of time. Bonus: Add a water bottle filling station and convenience area with food and snacks!
The increasing wave of recent health and exercise trends means students want to stay active for mental and physical wellness. Although student housing communities may not allocate much square footage for dedicated fitness facilities, the space that is provided can be super-inviting. Using lighter-toned colors (or school branding), mirrors and indoor/outdoor connections via overhead garage-style doors can really open up smaller spaces. Bring in the light and fresh air while connecting to additional outdoor fitness-focused spaces for a true dual-purpose workout experience.
Students naturally spend time outdoors, but not just exercising. Going to daily classes requires some walking, or, better yet, many students who live in edge of campus communities prefer to use bicycles. To accommodate this, design easily accessed bike storage near the primary entrance of the building. Space is always at a premium, but don’t skimp here. A large storage area with safety locks is a must-have for student housing.
Last but certainly not least are community spaces where students can gather and hang out outside of their apartments. Keeping student units smaller and shifting that space to communal gathering areas is an ideal way to manage overall square footage, but this design solution really only works within the student housing world. Since students tend to be busy, they typically spend less time in their apartments, so they are willing to accept less square footage and storage space. Additionally, community spaces encourage students to meet others within the building or school within a variety of unique hang out spots. Extend the gathering experience outside if possible, offering outdoor social connectivity within the plan.
Student housing is designed to help maintain the balance between the studious side and fun side of college life. This housing type is a major stepping stone for young adults who are finding their footing in the world. Focus on study areas, fitness and socialization when designing in order to create a solid student housing product that appeals to the renters and, most importantly, those who pay the bills.
These projects were featured in Volume 11 of our inspire magazine. Check it out here!