May 2, 2022

Today’s Student Housing Designs Balance Wants and Needs

Student Housing Business

Anyone who has ever worked with teenagers and young adults can attest that these populations are sometimes hard to please. Many are still finding their voice, remain uncertain of their priorities, or don’t see the difference between what they want and what they need. But architects do. Design professionals have become experts at accommodating both the desires and necessities of today’s residential student population. Throw in COVID-19, however, and priorities have shifted a bit. Some students prefer in-person classes, while others are comfortable working from their rooms. Some are willing to pay for high-priced amenities, while others would prefer to keep their housing costs as low as possible. The design community has been taking all this in as it attempts to provide the away-from-home experience for the post-COVID generation. Below are some of the most sig-nifi cant trends they’re seeing.


Location Remains Paramount

As different as today’s teens and young adults may be from other generations, their top student housing priority remains the same. “Like all real estate discussions, location is everything,” says Bob Keane, managing principal and director of higher education at WDG Architecture in Washington, D.C. “The closer students are to the campus core, the more successful they are as students.” Jack Boarman, senior design leader and managing partner at BKV Group in Washington, D.C., notes location has played a particularly large role in the urban environment.


“We’re seeing an increasingly large preference to build in core pedestrian markets that are within or close to big cities,” he says. “This has resulted in a push to create more purpose-built student living communities that are walkable and bikeable.” This includes The Parlor, which is being built near Texas State University and the Historic Market Square, a bustling shopping, dining and entertainment destination in downtown San Marcos. Set to open for the fall 2022 academic year, the 264-unit Greystar development’s first floor will include the community’s entrance, as well as a Target – a convenience that Keane says is becoming more popular with both on- and off-campus students.


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