Wow Factor Attracts Students
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Wow Factor Attracts Students

400 Meeting Street Student Housing Apartments built for College of Charleston students featuring Nichiha Illumination.

The student housing sector shows signs of continued growth as developers create new facilities across the United States. According to Axiometrics, Inc., a research firm located in Dallas, Texas, it is estimated that 45,000 new student housing beds will be created across the country in 2016 to meet the demand of college students. These new developments include a large amount of private off-campus student housing that assists in meeting housing needs. With increased competition among student housing facilities, developers are focusing on the 'wow factor' to attract students.

One factor that many student housing facilities are focusing on are common areas where students congregate. They are working to create a living room atmosphere with comfy furniture, fire places, and other design aspects that make common areas feel cozy. These are spaces where students can connect with one another and not feel as isolated within their dorm rooms. The 'cooler' the common areas, the more likely a student will feel compelled to stay in the student housing center.

Terrapin Row Student Housing Complex at the University of Maryland featuring Nichiha Illumination and SandStone.

Designers are also focusing on academic nooks where students can gather to study and work on projects for class. These spaces get students out of their rooms and into a place where they can strictly focus on studying. Common academic areas often feature large walls where students can write on, unique sitting places, and structures to block out noise.

To attract students, housing designers need to step it up in the amenity game. More luxurious amenities are being included in student housing facilities to lure students including pools, state-of-the-art gyms, and rock climbing walls. In fact, pools at student facilities are becoming so common that in order to stand out, developers are working to create bigger and better pools by placing them on rooftops and including specialty features such as lazy rivers.

Another aspect that is contributing to the wow factor in student housing is high-end modern cladding. Architects are seeking the look of high-end materials to create excitement and interest on the exterior of the building. While they want the high-end look, they are met with challenges when it comes to staying on budget. They need an attractive cladding solution at an affordable cost and are also seeking durable materials that will remain looking beautiful for years to come.

Many student housing architects are turning toward Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels to achieve the high-end design that attracts students to these facilities. The panels provide the look of metal, block, stone, wood, and so much more. Architects not only appreciate that the aesthetics of the panels help attract students, but also the benefits they receive from Nichiha's fiber cement cladding including durability, cost-effective pricing, easy installation, and a built-in rainscreen.

Terrapin Row Student Housing Complex at the University of Maryland featuring Nichiha Illumination and SandStone.

Both students and parents play an important role in the student housing design process as architects are always keeping in mind the end user who will be living in the facility. Students need to have the buy-in to the housing center as well as their parents. Students may be the ones living in the facilities, but parents are the ones who are paying university expenses and they want to ensure their students are happy, comfortable and safe.

Atlanta mom Allison Cobb was recently involved in the process of selecting student housing with her son Hampton. Hampton started college at Georgia Southern University and Allison was very interested in learning about the type of housing facilities available to her son. Allison shared her thoughts saying, 'As a mother, I want to ensure my son is comfortable in the space he will be living in. When looking at student housing facilities on campus, I was interested in seeing a modern building that provided him with updated rooms, large common areas for socializing and studying, and fun perks like a pool that would really make him feel at home. For my peace of mind, it was also important that the facility offered safety features such as a gated entry and well-lit parking and walkway.'

Hampton Cobb had his own list of amenities he was looking for in his new living quarters. He shared his wish list saying, 'When I first arrived on campus I was excited to see what my experience would be like living at college. I really wanted to make sure my building had strong Wi-Fi, large rooms, and an outside deck for each apartment. I was happy that I could find most of these items along with other cool amenities I wasn't expecting. Having a selection of housing options available allowed me to find the right fit and made my first year of college an awesome experience.'

Student Housing Center at San Diego State University featuring Nichiha Illumination.

Architects will continue to produce creative spaces and high-end designs to attract students to live in university housing developments. Focusing on the wow factor can often prove to be profitable in the long run. As the student body evolves over the years, so will the definition of the wow factor as it reshapes to provide students with exactly what they are seeking.

Student Housing Center at San Diego State University featuring Nichiha Illumination.

Nichiha Spotlight: Colorful Campus Cladding

Riverton Community Housing at the University of Minnesota featuring Nichiha Illumination.

Custom-color cladding is often used to create an enticing exterior on student housing facilities that raises interest among potential student dwellers. Nichiha Illumination panels were recently incorporated into the dynamic Riverton Community Housing Cooperative for University of Minnesota students. When it came time to design the multi-story building, UrbanWorks Architecture was not wanting just any shade of yellow, but looking for a particular yellow they had in mind. Illumination's custom color capability proved to be the best solution as it provided the architect with precisely the yellow he was looking for and created the lively exterior needed to attract students to the facility.

Read the full case study.

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