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UPP Launches Future of Student Accommodation Design Contest with Archiboo

| 29.03.2022 | 4 minutes read |

UPP is inviting SME architects to pitch bold ideas on what they believe the student accommodation of tomorrow looks like

UPP, the leading provider and operator of on-campus student accommodation in the UK, is launching a competition to design the student accommodation of tomorrow, in collaboration with Archiboo.

UPP is inviting small and medium sized architectural practices to share their vision of what they think the student accommodation of the future could look like. The aim is to push boundaries on what students expect from their university accommodation and UPP wants participating architects to look beyond what is currently offered in the market and to consider key overarching issues, including student mental health and wellbeing, and sustainability. 

Following this initial open call for entries, seven shortlisted practices will be invited to present their ideas to UPP and leading figures within the industry in a short pitch. The judging panel includes:

  • 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
  • Anviksha Patel, Senior Reporter at Property Week

The winning practice will be invited to work as a paid consultant on a future project with UPP.

Since launching in 1998, UPP has successfully provided homes to almost half a million students. Working with some of the UK’s most renowned universities, including University of Exeter, University of London, and University of Nottingham, UPP has established itself as a major player within the student accommodation sector, and is a recognised and respected provider and operator of on-campus student accommodation.

The UPP Foundation, an independent charity that offers grants to universities, charities and other higher education bodies, recently delivered its yearlong ‘Student Futures Commission’, which highlighted rising concerns around student wellbeing and mental health, with students reporting high levels of loneliness and isolation as a result of increased digital learning. UPP wants to respond to these issues, ensuring future plans for accommodation includes innovative ways to support students and increase their sense of wellbeing.

In addition to this, UPP is conscious of the growing movement to address the climate crisis within the built environment, and the pitch brief therefore requires proposals to incorporate high sustainability credentials.

 Adam Tyson, Construction Director at UPP, says:

“The student accommodation sector has been tackling significant adjustments over the past two years as the nature of university education and day-to-day student life has fundamentally changed. As the student experience has adapted, we at UPP are committed to providing the highest quality accommodation which caters to the wide range of needs whilst they live on campus.”

“Working in partnership with universities, UPP is always striving to be at the forefront of innovation in the sector, and we’re therefore excited to hear from SME architects with their bold, creative ideas on what they think the next in ultimate student accommodation could look like. This contest will give us a glimpse into the next steps for student accommodation and how today’s innovations can help tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”

The deadline for applications is 27th April.

The Archiboo Pitch will take place on 18th May 2022.

To apply, visit  

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