UPP announces winners of Future of Student Accommodation Design Contest with Archiboo

UPP is pleased to announce that DROO have won the Future of Student Accommodation competition, to design the student accommodation of tomorrow, held in collaboration with Archiboo on 18th May.

Amrita Mahindroo, from DROO, presented an innovative solution UPP’s brief to share their vision of what they think the future of student accommodation could look like. Amrita delivered a strong pitch that brought forward-looking ideas on circular economy and reuse of space while acknowledging the individual and social context of students. DROO’s ideas provided a flexible passive design that can adapt to people with different needs, proposing a range of spaces for ample use that also encourage socialising.

Amrita Mahindroo said the winning pitch “came down to a series of conversations with our team who were students very recently and the real problems students today face with debt and fear of unemployment. We wanted to channel their energy and creativity to think outside the box and address some of their anxieties as a driver for a design that is more than just a bed.”

After a challenging deliberation process, the judges decided to recognise Thomas Bryans from IF_DO as highly commended after presenting a pitch with proactive social design that addressed issues of mental health and wellbeing in an innovative way.

The two winners were chosen from a selection of seven shortlisted practices, which included:

  • Al-Jawad Pike
  • Gray + Cross
  • Office Sian
  • Okra
  • Projects Office

The expert panel of leading industry figures assembled by UPP to judge the entries were all impressed by the range and quality of the entries. The panel, chaired by Amanda Baillieu, founder of Archiboo, consisted of:

  • Jason Clarke, Head of Energy and Environment at UPP
  • Zoë Mallett, VP of Community and Welfare at Nottingham Trent Student Union
  • Greg Ducie, Director of Estates at Swansea University
  • Ben Humphries, Director at Architype
  • Dr Alexis Brown, Director of Policy and Advocacy at HEPI

Jason Clarke, Head of Energy and Environment at UPP, said:

“It was an honour to bring together these practices and hear their innovative ideas for the future of student accommodation in the UK. At UPP, we are keenly aware of the challenges the sector is facing and always looking to adapt to provide the best homes for our students. The key elements of this include the necessity to build new accommodation to the highest sustainability standards, including to Passivhaus certification.

“We need to learn from the past two years, where students have been increasingly isolated, even when living on campus. The ‘Student Futures Commission’ report published in February by our independent charity, the UPP Foundation, highlighted rising concerns around student wellbeing and mental health. Amrita addressed the idea of community particularly effectively in her aspirational design, alongside a high quality, sustainable, building which takes into account growing concerns around the climate crisis.”