The University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada is embarking on a big experiment with a tiny footprint. The university has unveiled designs for the Nano Studio, a type of new affordable student housing that would fit all of a students’ needs within a 140-square-foot unit. The fully furnished micro-apartments will serve as part of a pilot project to help solve the shortage of affordable student housing on campus and would be rented out for less than $700 a month.
The main motivation behind the UBC Nano Studios pilot project is affordability. In an interview with CBC News, Andrew Parr, UBC’s managing director of student housing, said that not only is the average rent on campus a steep $1,000 per month, but finding housing as a student at UBC can be challenging too—hopeful students can expect to join a waiting list of over 6,000 people. In response, the school plans to build 70 tiny suites—each no bigger than an average parking stall—as part of the new Gage South Student Residence, a 630-bed complex which will be completed in 2019 and built near the Student Union Building.
To give students a sneak peek of the Nano Studio, the school has built a demonstration unit in the AMS Student Nest building. Each 140-square-foot fully furnished unit would include a double bed that folds up into a desk; closet space; a surprisingly spacious bathroom; and even a kitchen that includes a two-burner stove, storage, sink, and a mini-fridge and freezer. The rooms will offer high-speed Internet as well as access to the Walter Gage games room, meeting rooms, music practice rooms, student lounges, fitness center, and bicycle storage. Rent is estimated between $675 and $695 a month.
“I wonder if 70 units is enough,” said Parr to CBC News in response to the prototype’s popular reception among students. “I’m sure there will be a wait list.” The Nano demo unit will be available for tours at The Nest between February 22 and April 1.
Images via Nano Studios