Student housing is an intriguing property type because the nature of student living implies a need for advanced amenities and services on-site. University students, particularly outside of major cities, often have less ability to commute to get groceries, and so many student housing properties have on-site dining options. Students also often demand excellent community amenities and social spaces, which frequently manifest as expansive rooftop decks, recreation areas, and fitness spaces. And finally, the education focus of student life often adds a unique element and niche space uses, like tutoring centers, to these properties.
While the best student housing properties tend to include features like access control and visitor management, community management tools, and the aforementioned emphasis on amenity spaces, the absolute coolest of this property class are differentiated by a wide range of characteristics: unique design, location, exemplary amenities, and even history. Here are a handful of these “coolest of the cool” student housing properties from around the world.
1. Béton House, Sheffield, UK
Béton House is a student housing complex, one part of the large-scale redevelopment of Park Hill, a housing estate. With other uses including artist lofts, social housing, and market-rate housing, the student housing of Béton House is surrounded by a number of other uses and a diversity of demographic groups.
Also interesting: The property was designed with the architecture thinking of famous architect Le Corbusier in mind. In fact, the original housing estate was inspired by Le Corbusier, as well. The student housing development draws additional inspiration from that architect’s thoughts on materials and color.
2. Central Station, Phoenix, USA
This upcoming development in the American southwest faces tremendously hot summers every year. It was also planned with a restricted number of parking spaces.
The special solution? Locate the entire development on a large public transit hub in the city, and next to an Arizona State University campus. Central Station’s student housing will represent one tower in a larger development also including market rate housing and retail, and is set to open in 2024.
3. Champagneplein, Enschede, Netherlands
Located at the University of Twente, this tall dorm building, also called “Sky,” has a 9-story rock climbing wall on its side as well as a smaller bouldering wall located nearby.
Combining fitness infrastructure with the very structure of the building itself is a testament to the creativity of designers Arons en Gelauff Architecten. It’s also a great way to bake wellness thinking directly into the property from day one of operations.
4. Simmons Hall, Cambridge, USA
This property, at MIT, stands out for its unique form, designed by Steven Holl. With a 125-seat onsite auditorium as well as other features, Simmons Hall was designed around the concept of porosity, with a variety of large openings and a massive number of windows giving an open and permeable feeling to the building.
5. Casa dell’Accademia, Mendrisio, Switzerland
This property, located at the Academy of Architecture of the Università della Svizzera italiana, has an intensely unique form using a central sloping lawn as a focal point. This sloping design allows building occupiers views into town as well as further onto the mountainous backdrop of Mendrisio.
These are just a few of the most interesting student housing development projects out there today. In a future post we’ll update this list with the most high-tech and best-amenitized student housing properties around the globe.