Campus Life Today: Six Campus and College Housing Projects That Make the Grade

Originally posted on the BSB Design Blog, NO BS.

Shared bathrooms, shared bedrooms, stripped down amenities: Those are the vestiges of campus and college housing of the past. Today’s students and universities have other living arrangements and priorities that have upended the traditional campus design paradigm.
Here are a few examples of what’s new in campus and college housing:

Recreation takes precedence.

New campus and college housing projects place a premium on shared recreation areas—and they often have the project size to include top-of-the-line options. That includes pools, lazy rivers, outdoor volleyball courts, and shared indoor areas with amusements such as pool tables, ping pong tables, and movie-worthy televisions. These are some of the amenities found at 111 South in Statesboro, Georgia and The Edge in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Renting a room is back in style—sort of.

Dorm rooms of old gave residents a space —sometimes shared— for a bed and a desk, as well as access to a bathroom. The newest rental models are a reinvention of that, this time with residents renting a room and a bathroom, sometimes fully furnished, in an apartment, as with 111 South in Statesboro, Georgia.

Community matters.

What many campus and college housing developers have found is that living in an apartment can be isolating for students and residents. To encourage interactions both planned and spontaneous, architects and developers are re-committing to community spaces, especially those that provide study spots, such as these light-filled areas in the Campus Village Communities Station at McIntosh.

But shared spaces are definitely fun.

Sure, students are attending college to study—but the community rooms that they share have a hipster vibe to the décor and furnishings that’s more about expressing the individuality of the place than it is about a generic backdrop to time out of class. That’s particularly true at the Arkansas Razorbacks, school-pride influenced surrounds in the University Housing Group, Champions Club.

One-size-fits-all doesn’t work.

In campus and college spaces of a few decades ago, for the most part every room mirrored every other room. Today’s facilities take a different approach: Some people may live solo, while others may have multiple roommates. There are single-story options as well as multiple-level dwellings that include covered parking, as with the Greystar Seneca at Cypress Creek.

The design is in the details.

How many campus and college facilities of the previous century are truly memorable? A handful, maybe, but most are designed simply as a backdrop for the busy schedules and turnover typical of a college community. In newer facilities, such as Lennar Tapestry, stylish finishes, hotel-like décor, even small details—say, reveals in a ceiling—offer unexpected sumptuousness for residents and visitors alike.

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