Retreat and Advance Part 1

As we look ahead to a bright year, it is always nice to stop and reflect on how far we have come. The office had the opportunity to assemble at Pier 32 Marina for the annual office retreat. We came together to review last year, look ahead at what’s coming, and welcome the new faces. Presentations came about for the “three things we should be considering about student housing” where everyone was invited to participate with mini-PechaKuchas. Three images in three minutes. GO! Here are some pitches…

John –

“Most units include balconies. Windows are generous and include side “ventilators” to persuade breezes to enter. Overheating and glare are modulated by way of movable vertical louvers integrated into the guardrail system. Radiant heating is hidden into a “step” that leads to the balconies. Rooms are provided with simple but clever built-ins including shelving and desks – reminiscent of the best Shaker pieces.”


Harvard University Peabody Terrace Apartments  | Cambridge | Bruner Cott

Gavin –

“Iconic Design. Bold use of form, material, color, and sustainable features to attract top students. Housing is increasingly an important factor in school selection.”


Tietgen Student Hall | Copenhagen | Lundgaard & Tranberg

Tilly –

“I chose this one because I’m charmed by the idea of taller buildings with smaller footprints connected with bridges. The texture of all the materials also is something unexpected in student housing. The buildings are clustered around intimate courtyards and adjacent to a dining area and conferencing facilities. Remaining sensitive to the surrounding countryside, the project’s design maintains an existing greenbelt.”


Hawkshead Campus of the Royal Veterinary College | London | Hawkins Brown

Jorge –

“Designing spaces that create opportunities for social interaction is a necessary part of a successful learning experience because I personally learned more from my peers than from my teachers. Social interaction doesn’t have to happen outside of the unit or dorm.”


Roger Williams University | Rhode Island

Josh –

“Smaller sites and rising unit & bed counts combine to make square footage scarce, pushing buildings ever higher in order to meet occupancy targets. As we move toward more robust structural systems required of taller buildings, opportunities for greater interior volume are available that can help to alleviate pinch on the horizontal plane by providing increased vertical space for creative storage and flexible furnishing options. Many a low-ceilinged university dorm room is already equipped with bunk-able beds that end up doubling as couch, dining room table, towel rack, study alcove, etc… with some unauthorized resident adaptation. What if the space and furnishings enabled this, or at least anticipated it?”


Housing | Where Not to Go | We Shouldn’t Say

Perriann –

“The Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar takes some creative leeway on student housing, but has an integral concept of healthy living and connection. Student housing is an opportunity to craft an environment promoting connection via social interaction.”


Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar | Melbourne | Hassell

Per –

  • Kitchen walls have been removed and cabinets are islands
  • Provides more opportunities for interactions between users because they are facing one another
  • This strategy could be used in other shared use spaces to encourage user interaction


Open Kitchen at Ropemaker | London | Clive Wilkinson Architects

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