Design Trends in Student Housing


ICON Student Housing

Student housing. For those of us that have been there, it involved anything from brutalist style two bedrooms to bare bones amenities. But the evolving needs and expectations of Generation Z (those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) are dramatically changing the design of university housing here in San Luis Obispo, and across the nation. This new generation of students values technology, privacy, sustainability and inclusivity, and expect these values to be reflected in their living situations on and off campus.

Curious to learn more? Our Central Coast builders and housing developers are sharing six ways the progressive needs of Gen Z is influencing student housing design in 2019.

1. Unit Variety

One bedroom bunk beds are a thing of the past. Gen Z expects options. The blueprints for today’s residence halls include diverse unit types to satisfy different living styles. Blending a variety one to four bedroom units within a building lets students live on their own terms, while also fostering a sense of community.

2. Coed Housing

Coed housing is here to stay and Gen Z is all about it. Exclusively male and female halls are becoming more and more scarce as students and universities embrace gender inclusivity. Coed residential floors, units, and sometimes even bathrooms are increasingly incorporated into student housing design plans.

3. Luxury Amenities

Gen Z wants the most bang for their buck, and this means luxury amenities. Outdoor pools, in-suite laundry, TVs, spa-style bathrooms and hip coffee shops, just to name a few. Modern spaces for entertainment and study will soon be musts in all masterplans. Our Central Coast builders recently completed an amenity-filled student residence here in San Luis Obispo. Check out The Academy at Chorro for total luxury living inspiration.

4. Innovative Common Spaces

A generation born with smartphones, Gen Z values connection and closeness more than you’d think. That’s why common spaces at today’s universities not only encourage academic success, but also support social engagement and relationship building. Spaces within residence halls must be desirable, that means comfortable furniture, lightening fast WiFi, and fun additions like ping pong tables, makers spaces, and study cubicles.

5. Green Features

LEED doesn’t cut it with Gen Z. Growing up in an era where climate change makes for small talk, they expect their university experience to have a minimal environmental impact and maximum green features like solar panels, smart lighting, and efficient appliances. This also includes eco-centric design choices like natural woods and open outdoor green spaces. And of course, hanging plants.

6. Community and Residential Assistants

The transition from living at home to living on their own is a tough one for Gen Z. On and off campus residences alike are adopting an old practice: residential assistants. These paraprofessionals are key in fostering healthy student living, as well as academic success.

At Abbott | Reed, pushing the boundaries of creative execution is our passion. Our housing developers thrive when it comes to building better communities that meet the needs and changing values of end-users across generations. For more information about our student and community housing projects, reach out to our housing developers today at (805)-543-7277.