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COMMENT


Higher student expectations, driving better design responses


David Strong of consultancy Curtins discusses how education institutions are responding to increased student expectations, and the current trends which are driving the design of education facilities


I


t’s no secret that to be popular with students and therefore be considered a ‘success’ by the institutions in charge, a university campus has to support a positive experience and quality of life for students. There are many different elements for the architect to consider, but creating a campus that is connected – both physically and socially – ensures it works as a whole. The concept of ‘experience’ is integral to modern campus developments and has undoubtedly been driven by the digital age. A decade ago, students were reliant on a printed prospectus and their first-hand experience of campuses gained on open days across a few days per year. Now, everything they want to know and more is available at a few clicks. They can look at rankings and feedback given by others at any time, see photos and videos, and even look


around the campus on Google maps. All of this means that students are understandably pickier when selecting their preferred university – a situation exacerbated by increases in tuition fees. Expectations are higher in regards to student facilities from all sides, providing further challenges for architects.


The international student market continues to grow, with five million students currently studying outside their home country, a number which is set to grow to eight million by 2025. It’s easy to see why high standards are expected as wherever they choose will essentially be their full-time home while in the UK. Their parents will also want greater reassurances that their child is secure and in the best possible environment to enjoy and make the most of their time abroad.


LEFT TO RIGHT Millennium View, new student accommodation for Coventry University / Collaborative Teaching Lab, University of Birmingham


ADF APRIL 2019


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