Gone are the days of basic bedsits, dirty dorms, and awful apartments. Now students across the world can look forward to living in carefully designed accommodation, which makes the most of local resources and space available.
Student property specialists, StudentTenant.com, have uncovered the weird and wonderful world of quirky student properties; including intelligently designed properties for natural light and air circulation, stacked shipping containers floating in a harbour, and an ex-business headquarters converted into 15-story student town.
1. Tietgen Residence Halls – Copenhagen, Denmark
Monthly rental cost: £366 – £635 (3,096DKK – 5,364DKK)
The cylindrical design of Tietgen Residence hall orientates itself around the inner courtyard, which serves as a great communal area for students to meet up and spend time together. Found in the centre of Copenhagen, the student hall boasts three hundred and sixty rooms across seven floors.
Highlights in the student hall include a classical room with a grand piano, an auditorium for residents to host events and parties, and a café for that early wake-up coffee.
2. Urban Rigger – Copenhagen, Denmark
Monthly rental cost: £472 (3,977DKK)
Docked in the harbour of Copenhagen, project Urban Rigger offers students low-cost housing near the centre of the city. Using repurposed shipping containers on floating platforms, the project has created a buoyant student hall boasting en-suite double rooms, roof terraces overlooking the Copenhagen dock, and plenty of solar panels.
One unique feature to the Urban Rigger is the raised edges of the stacked containers to protect against the threat of rising sea levels.
3. Simmons Hall – Massachusetts, USA
Monthly rental cost: £1,102 – £1,349 ($1,403 – $1,775)
Costing around $78.5 million to build, and housing 344 undergraduates, Simmons Hall was the largest and most expensive student hall built on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Nicknamed “The Sponge” because the architect modelled its shape and internal structure on a sea sponge, Simmons Hall has won multiple awards for its unique ‘lungs’ feature which brings in natural light and circulates fresh air throughout the building.
Aside from the architecture involved, the student hall offers residents a 125-seat theatre, a night café, a ball pit, and street-level dining.
4. Cowan Court – Cambridge, UK
Monthly rental cost: £360 – £700
Paying homage to the “picturesque Brutalism” of the original 1960s campus architecture, Cowan Court is a contemporary interpretation of earlier buildings. The oak boards that make up the exterior of the property remain untreated and natural to conserve the authenticity of the new building within the history of the complex.
5. Cité a Docks – Le Havre, France
Monthly rental cost: £372 (€422)
The new student town is the result of the transformation of old containers in modular housing units. Mounted on a metal grid, the containers have given shape to a four-story building that includes 100 apartments of 24 square meters each.
Cité a Docks offers students minimalistic dwellings with a bathroom, a kitchen, and full-length windows overlooking the English Channel.
6. The Chapter – London, UK
Monthly rental cost: £916 – £1,996
Found in Kings Cross St Pancras train station, the two 15-story towers were previously Natwest’s headquarters before being converted into student accommodation in 2007. Using the original concrete and steel construction, ceramic tiling, and booth seating to resemble train carriages, The Chapter has been designed to pay homage to the location’s railway heritage.
Inside the property, designers strategically placed sofas to offer students places to meet and relax, built communal kitchens for drinks and snacks, and included an onsite gym for residents to use.
7. Spacebox Studios – Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Monthly rental cost: £370 – £396 (€420 – €450)
Spacebox Studios may look like someone has stacked some leftover storage containers and called them student halls, but that’s not why this student accommodation is on the list. Aside from the colourful and novel exterior of Spacebox Studios, these colourful self-contained units make great use of the small space available.
Each container apartment houses between three and six students, and comes fully equipped with en-suite bathrooms and shared kitchens.
8. Tengbom Unit – Småland, Sweden
Swedish firm Tengbom designed a student unit that is affordable, environmentally friendly, and smart in terms of both design and choice of materials used. Each ‘unit’ is just 10 square metres, and with the use of cross-laminated wood as construction material, the rent is reduced by 50% of comparable student properties.
Each unit uses an efficient layout to include a small kitchenette with shelving and storage, a small bathroom, a small garden with patio a loft with space for the resident to sleep.
Danielle Cullen, Managing Director at StudentTenant.com, says “I absolutely love the effort that has gone into these developments, to really create a fun and functional living space for students. Many associate their time in a student house with a grubby single bedroom in a damp shared house. It’s refreshing to see diversified options for students to make their time at university truly memorable.
“Being a student is more than just completing assignments and going to lectures. I think accommodation providers should recognise that a happy and exciting home will really improve the quality of life for individuals, who work very hard to complete their degrees. The availability of the fantastic communal spaces and extra facilities really allows students to create a sense of belonging, with many choosing to study away from their hometown.
“With a bit of an uncertain future for the UK in terms of students numbers, Brexit and so forth, I think providers here should really take a leaf out of the books of some of these innovative developers across the world. The student accommodation market here is certainly developing, but who wouldn’t want to see some more fun and innovative spaces to bring more students to study here? Accommodation is such a huge part of the student way of life now, and I genuinely think more exciting and fun ways of living will encourage more people to study here!”