Hospitality and Workplace Design Trends on the New College Campus
A recent article in University Business emphasized that students choose their higher educational institutions based on the design and physical character of college campuses. It goes beyond curb appeal. One university president states the campus itself is their school’s most effective recruiting tool. Another calls prospective students and their parents highly discerning customers.
So what goes into creating an incomparable campus experience? At DLR Group we draw upon expertise with hospitality and workplace design to create elements that help recruit and retain students and meet the ever-changing objectives of administrators, faculty and parents.
Breaking the institutional mold
Welcoming architecture and design are the hallmarks of the hospitality industry. Guests at hotels, high-end retail stores, local coffee shops and restaurants feel welcomed from the onset of their arrival. Hospitality design focuses on creating spaces that broadcast: “We care about your well-being.” And modern workplace design must excel in order to keep employees productive and pleased.
Most college bound millennials and their families seek this uplifting sense of place – an atmosphere that is spacious, comfortable, homey, well lit – providing an ambiance to relax, unwind, and where social interaction and study can intermingle. They seek modern spaces and experiences that contribute not only to a peek learning experience, but fortify increasingly important social, psychological and emotional needs, which are proven to impact learning.
Movement and Mingling
Millennials are an active bunch. More than any previous generation this crowd is constantly on the move. One increasingly popular trend in hotel branding that works perfectly for collegiate dining is the ‘grab and go’ kiosk. These eclectic, informal feeding stations match the needs of today’s global, budget-minded student.
Another hotel trend popular on college campuses are community tables. Placed in dining areas, students can eat alone yet be surrounded by others. Placed in college commons and other spaces, such tables allow students to work on their laptops alone or in study groups, or simply to gather and socialize. Similar community tables in hotel lobbies allow the sometimes-solo guest to work in community or strike up conversations with fellow travelers.
Workplace concepts resonate well in college spaces
As the lines between education and the workforce blur, the integration of workplace environment trends are crossing over into the public areas of college campuses. The modern workplace provides flexibility and versatility in workstations and meeting spaces. Casual breakout spaces for small group learning echo that of the small conference room complete with lounge chairs and coffee tables. Undefined, versatile, communal spaces equipped with technology hook-ups provide spaces for pop-up labs, career fairs or office wide meetings.
Premium real estate and mobile technology have pushed most businesses towards space-efficient, shareable, touchdown workstations that allow staff to come and go on their own schedules. And no media center, or co-op office is complete without an in-house coffee/juice bar nearby. Where technology encourages virtual work habits, these trends draw staff and students back to in person connections.
Hospitality and workplace design can help translate the realities of college campus from old-fashioned halls of learning to active, responsive environments where students, parents, faculty, and administrators advance intellectual and social quotients equally; where environment and education merge to create institutions that meet the expectations of today and the needs of tomorrow.