Da Costa Mahindroo Architects, a studio led by architects Michel Da Costa Goncalves and Amrita Mahindroo has been chosen by UPP to “challenge the way it thinks” about student housing. IF_Do was named as the runner-up in a competition that UPP said was “very tightly fought”.
The architect was one of seven practices to pitch ideas for student living to a panel led by UPP, the UK’s leading provider and operator of on-campus student accommodation.
Amrita Mahindroo said her winning pitch “came down to a series of conversations with our team who were students very recently and the real problems they face with debt and fear of unemployment. From this we wanted to try and solve some of their anxieties as a driver for a design that is more than just a bed."
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.
“We need to learn from the past two years, where students have been increasingly isolated, even when living on campus. 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.”
In response to the brief’s emphasis on sustainability and mental health, the seven architects pitched ideas for shared roof gardens and other ways to foster community living. There was also an emphasis on flexible private space - a response to the anxiety many students feel coming into shared accommodation for the first time.
The other architects pitching were: Al-Jawad Pike, Gray and Cross, Office Sian, Okra Studio and Projects Office.
The panel was: 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 and Dr Alexis Brown, Director of Policy and Advocacy at HEPI.
The winning architect will be offered to work as a paid consultant to UPP.
Image: Amrita Mahindroo pitching in front a live audience in the City of London. Credit - Finn Walsh