IRVINE, CA – Unlike the dull dorm rooms of the mid-20th century, contemporary student housing design is increasingly high-quality, tech-oriented, and anticipatory of the ever-changing needs of students, parents, and universities alike. Recent student housing design trends include suite-style units, living-learning environments, high-quality activity and study spaces, digital mail rooms, and social hallways. Despite the misconceptions that modular construction limits design breadth, modular student housing can be designed and constructed to look just like other buildings on campus, in support of the campus brand.
“Modular construction has the potential to make these relatively repetitive developments even more efficient and cost-effective while meeting the tight deadlines we always face while working on student housing,” says David Senden, principal with KTGY Architecture + Planning. “KTGY R+ D Studio has unveiled the ‘Mod Hall’ concept, which provides modular student housing.”
According to Senden, “By constructing unit modules off-site while simultaneously completing the on-site construction, the modular student housing process can save time and money, helping universities to serve their growing student populations.”
“Universities are finding a strong correlation between students living on campus and increased academic success,” noted Marissa Kasdan, director, design with KTGY’s R+ D Studio. “Students living amongst like-minded individuals tend to form stronger support systems, utilize on-campus support services, and experience greater academic accountability.”
The modular construction can be made out of wood or steel, including purpose-built storage containers, Kasdan said. KTGY’s modular design plan works like a kit of parts that can be combined into the desired unit configuration. Also included are one and two module common areas to create flexibility in building layout while also providing study rooms, gathering lounges, and areas for social activity.
KTGY’s depth of experience with student housing, combined with the firm’s current innovations in modular design, caught the attention of the firm’s R+D Studio. “KTGY is preparing to break ground on Hope on Alvarado, a modular residential building that will provide transitional housing and social services for homeless individuals in Los Angeles,” Kasdan said. “The modern design and speed-to-market from construction start made sense for student housing.”
Why Build Student Housing Modularly?
1. Student housing lends itself to modular construction due to its repetitive nature and commonly narrow room dimensions.
2. Due to time and cost savings, modular student housing can be built and thus rented more affordably. Shorter construction timelines are also better suited to the university calendar.
3. Use of modular components still allows for the design flexibility required to achieve contemporary and site-sensitive designs, making it both an innovative and adaptable option for modern university campuses.
4. Off-site construction and quick on-site assembly time minimize disruption to student life.
“To maximize the benefits of modular construction, room dimensions are coordinated with the typical dimensions of a freight truck,” said Kasdan. “Each module stretches from exterior face to exterior face of a double-loaded corridor building, including components of two units and the corridor running through the middle. As much as possible, unit interiors are finished in an off-site factory with finish materials, cabinetry, and fixtures, prior to relocation to the site. This simplifies the delivery process and on-site construction.”