Three new residences – male (100 beds), female (100 beds) and senior students (50 beds) – designed for the University of the Free State’s Qwa-Qwa campus by ROODT* ARCHITECTS were realized in such a way to define meaningful social spaces, both internally and externally.

The three hostels each offer single, double and 3-bed room options, and provide facilities for disabled students. Services in the form of kitchens are incorporated into the circulation routes, and bathrooms or laundry areas are readily accessible.

The buildings are arranged in such a way to create multiple social spaces which include:

• Private courtyards within the perimeter of the hostel which can be utilized for studying or leisure time;
• A communal covered area (at each individual hostel) for students to assemble for meetings, or to be used as a study/social venue;
• A public open square in-between the hostels for extracurricular events such as sport, games or rag.

These spaces not only give the students a sense of community or shared identity, but also act as the generator of social interaction between the adjacent hostels. These communal spaces could become the heart of the student community.

The vision of the design is that these new hostels will become a home away from home and that each student living there will be equipped with everything they need to excel in their study time at the University of the Free State.

The ultimate aim of the design is to create affordable residential accommodation that would offer a suitable and enabling study environment and a selection of spaces that could socially be appropriated within the local cultural milieu.