Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How Small Can Student Accommodation Be?

Universities have the perennial problem of providing enough affordable accommodation for the students. There are examples of high quality on-campus accommodation, such as the new wing of St Catherine’s College at UWA and the University of Canberra UniLodge. But in a way these are a little too glossy for real living, a but like up-market hotel.

Perhaps some of the grunge shipping container look of ‘Westside @ Acton Park’ could be used. This might be done somewhat like Laurus Wing of Ursula Hall, with a conventional base to the building and shipping containers stacked on top. This could have more industrial aesthetic than Laurus Wing which hides its shipping container origins.

Also perhaps universities should look at more affordable accommodation. While the apartments and rooms of the current accommodation are conformable, they are not necessarily affordable for students. The students then end up stacked in bunk beds in run down homes.

Universities could have some rooms which are more like a capsule hotel. The most generously sized of these would still be only be just big enough to fit a single bed, with room to stand. Storage would be provided above the bed, which would fold up to make room for the student to sit. Four such rooms would fit in one 20ft shipping container. However, this may require a change to legislation. For example Victoria requires rooming house rooms to be at least 7.5m2 and only two of these could be accommodated in one shipping container. It could be argued that students have extensive additional space in their accommodation and so such rules could be relaxed.

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