Image courtesy of SOM by James Ewing
Historically, college dorms have been characterized by anything but great architecture. While many older institutions rent out rooms (“cells” may be a more apt description) in neo-gothic structures, newer institutions tend to house students in some of the world’s least inspiring modernist buildings (for an example, head over to the I.M. Pei towers that dominate NYU’s University Village). More recently, however, at least some colleges and universities have begun to acknowledge that where students live may have an impact on their performance. Financially savvy institutions have also started to link student housing options to student retention rates.
As a result, on many campuses, drab gray concrete structures with prison-size windows are finally giving way to light, glass and wood and to an entirely new range of built-in amenities. This means that whether or not all students know it, a growing number of them are now living in buildings on the cutting edge of contemporary design.
Ahead, we highlight some of the best and most innovative in the new york area
When you spend your student years living in an architect-designed former car radio button factory in the ultra-hip Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg, face it, you’re just going to be a little spoiled for everything else. And it should come as no surprise that, thanks to a developer specializing in student living, students in de facto hipster sister city Williamsburg will be getting a similar opportunity to live in architectural bliss rather than institutional semi-squalor.
New York City-based real estate development company Macro Sea piloted the design-friendly dorm—outfitted with found furniture and slatted ladder-style stairs–in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district last year. FastCompany quotes company principal David Belt: “Most people build student housing and they want to build it as cheaply as possible and the furniture to be as rugged as possible, because they think that students will wreck it.” Diverging from this idea, Belt’s company “sought to create an environment that treats students as savvy global citizens rather than wards of an institution.”
Student housing or co-living for adults, what’s the difference?