Student Housing Unlocked: Redefining Communities With Purpose-Driven, Innovative Design

BKV Group’s Jack Owen Boarman discusses all the latest in student housing design with MHN's Olivia Bunescu.

Student Housing Unlocked podcast
In this episode, we discuss strategies to meet students’ demands better and optimize the construction process. Image by shironosov/

In the past years, the student housing sector has been undergoing a significant transformation to better meet the needs of modern students. Student housing is now moving away from luxury amenities to more academic-oriented spaces that support community engagement and success. This shift reflects a broader trend toward creating environments that enhance students’ educational experiences and overall well-being.

The rising demand for student housing has pushed developers and designers to think outside conventional solutions and come up with mixed-use developments or even innovative construction strategies to tackle costs. In this podcast episode of Student Housing Unlocked MHN Associate Editor Olivia Bunescu explores current design trends shaping the sector, how are architects building communities faster and the surge of mixed-use properties with BKV Group’s Managing Partner and Senior Design Leader Jack Owen Boarman.

LISTEN TO: Student Housing Unlocked: The Equation Behind Success in a Localized Sector

Jack Boarman - BKV Group
Jack founded the firm in 1978 and has been focusing on redevelopments, urban planning, programming and renovations since then. Image courtesy of BKV Group

Here are the main ideas discussed in this episode:

  • The focus on academic-oriented amenities is a rising trend in the sector (01:18)
  • Health and wellness are on top of designers’ concerns (03:28)
  • When sustainability and technology come into play (05:05)
  • Right-sizing units and integrating demanded amenities as main challenges in student housing design (06:42)
  • A virtual audio tour of a student housing project and what students need nowadays (12:08)
  • Key design considerations when developing mixed-use properties (15:18)
  • What makes a mixed-use project stand out? (19:52)
  • Balancing different needs in mixed-use communities (21:58)
  • Unit standardization and planning as an effective strategy to tackle construction costs (24:00)
  • Using prefabricated factory-based building element technologies for faster, more productive construction (27:44)
  • An outlook for student housing design (33:42)

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Music credits: “Easy to find” by Corinne song via

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