Micro-unit living now the newest UBC student residence option (PHOTOS)

Sep 3 2019, 2:00 pm

A number of students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are now residing in nano suites, also called micro units, that were built into the newly-completed Exchange Residence.

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The university opened the student residence earlier this summer, just ahead of the start of the school year, at the heart of the campus at 5960 Student Union Boulevard — right above a new TransLink bus layover facility that directly serves the new UBC bus exchange, next to UBC Aquatic Centre and Gage Towers.

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The nano suites are all efficiently designed, maximizing the small floor area to accommodate a kitchenette, private bathroom, and a double bed that folds up into the wall to create a study desk.

Nano suite study desk mode:

UBC Exchange Residence

Nano suite at UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

Nano suite sleeping mode:

UBC Exchange Residence

Nano suite at UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

All student residents have access to living spaces that extend beyond their units, within the Exchange’s various in-building amenities, including study and meeting rooms, music practice rooms, games room, exercise room, and an expansive outdoor rooftop with hammocks over the bus layover facility.

The building is also in close proximity to campus facilities and buildings that support student life, including the AMS Nest Student Union Building, UBC Life Building, and the UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

UBC Exchange Residence

Nano suite at UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

Nano suite at UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

“We feel that this location is a great location to trial this concept,” said Andrew Parr, the managing director of UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services, in a statement.

“The student best suited to a unit like this is one who is very active on campus, who participates in extracurricular activities and who is quite social. They have their own private space they can call their own, but they can also quickly dash to the library or the Nest, or hang out in the coffee bar or jump on a bus and go downtown.”

Monthly rents for these 140-sq-ft units are relatively low at $700, far lower than the same building’s studio units (up to $1,290 per month), one-bedroom suites (up to $1,400 per month), two-bedroom suites (up to $1,200 per month), four-bedroom suites ($985 per month per month), and 15 two-bedroom townhouses (up to $1,440 per month).

There are 651 student beds at the Exchange residence, with the unit mix entailing 71 nano suites, 93 studios, 180 suites, and 15 townhouses. This student residence is largely dedicated to upper-year students.

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

According to the university, demand for the nano suites was exceedingly high, with 1,300 students applying for a residence this year indicating a preference for these micro units.

The entire development — the bus exchange, bus layover facility, and the Exchange Residence — was designed by local architectural firm DIALOG.

Just north of the Exchange Residence and the bus layover facility, UBC plans to construct a new 1,000-bed student residence — dubbed Pacific Residence — on under-utilized spaces of the Gage Towers residence site. Construction begins this year for an opening in August 2021.

UBC currently has about 12,000 student beds, and with further developments, it plans to increase its student housing capacity to 17,300 beds by 2030, including 3,000 beds within the short-term period of within the next five years.

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

UBC Exchange Residence

UBC Exchange Residence. (Picture and Color Media / UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services)

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