When approached to design University Studios, a student residence directly adjoining the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College, Wallman Architects principal Rudy Wallman researched the lifestyles and needs of post-secondary students, designing a community specifically tailored to suit the needs of upper-year students. For Wallman, what emerged was a design that prioritizes privacy, livability, and spatial efficiency, while striving to maintain a financially approachable price point.

“Priorities change as students move through University,” Wallman explains. “In the first few years social life is a high priority. During this time, it makes sense for students to live in accommodations that have shared living, dining, kitchen and bathroom spaces with the only private space provided by bedrooms. Privacy becomes more important in later years as studies become increasingly serious. Privacy promotes productivity, so private space becomes essential for more mature students. SmartStudios provide a completely private environment in which all spaces within suites are accessible only to individual occupants.”

University Studios brings a distinctly urban aesthetic to Oshawa, image courtesy of Podium Developments

Seeking to accommodate student needs with maximum efficiency, Podium Developments' 8-storey project introduces SmartStudios to the GTA, in partnership with co-developer Building Capital and management company Varsity Properties. Already popular in New York and San Francisco, the concept—SmartStudios is a trademarked term—prioritizes spatial efficiency through foldable multi-purpose furniture and compactly designed fixtures and appliances, striving to create affordable yet livable spaces.

Each of the suites—which range in size from 274 to 376 ft²—come equipped with a full, three-piece bathroom and a custom-designed furniture package, including the 'TabledBed,' which folds from a dining/work table into a murphy bed, allowing for a flexibly functional space.

“Our mandate was to provide all facilities in a very compact suite size. We created a linear block containing storage, study area and European kitchen on one side," Wallman says," which freed up the remainder of the suite for the bathroom, table area and living space. It’s incredibly functional with zero wasted space and provides maximum value for the price, and of course, creates the completely private environment these students now require."

A rendering of the L-shaped building, image courtesy of Podium Developments

While University Studios foregrounds privacy and spatial efficiency as the key principles for successful student life during upper years studies, Wallman's design also recognizes the continuing necessity of fostering a vibrant social space. Providing a variety of communal spaces, University Studios features an open common room and lounge on each floor, with large windows that invite abundant natural light.

Other student-oriented amenities include meeting spaces, as well as a games room which opens onto an outdoor courtyard complete with a seating area and fireplace. In addition, the building will feature many of the more typical condo amenities, such as a gym, party room, and a roof deck. 

We will keep you updated as further details of the project continue to emerge. In the meantime, check out our dataBase file for more information. Want to share your thoughts regarding the development? Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or join in the discussion on our Forum.

Related Companies:  Building Capital Inc., Live Patrol Inc., McOuat Partnership, Milborne Group, Podium Developments , Varsity Properties, Wallman Architects