Thinking outside the box, KATHO Catholic University in Courtrai, Belgium, has developed a modular and mobile student housing prototype that will have many wanting to return to the books. Gone are the days of pokey dorm rooms, grimy communal kitchens and substandard shared bathrooms, as this student residence features state-of-the-art facilities. Designed by architectural studios dmvA Architecten and A3 Ontwerpburo, Hub_01 boasts several modern flexible living zones and private mobile "sleeping units" that students can take with them as they complete their education.

“Focusing on both flexible and mobile living and learning, the student dig of the future personifies the idea of learning at any time, in any place and in every way,” says the Hub_01's creators. “In fact we designed a sustainable and innovative pavilion that hopefully inspires education, teachers and students to innovate their learning process. We call it: 'Educational design'.”

At the core of the design is a large central hub that offers a meeting space for students to relax, discuss ideas or to collaborate on university projects. The central hub is also home to all communal rooms such as the living zones, communal kitchen and bathrooms and features rooftop solar panels and a heat pump to make the student residence almost completely self-sufficient. The hub supports the connection of up to six personalized units that are portable so that students can take their own unit with them through their years of study.

Hub_01 private student residence module

The eco-conscious Passive Unit allows for the Hub’s energy use to be easily measured and controlled, while also encouraging students to adopt an eco-friendly approach to their everyday lives. A treehouse-inspired Back-to-Basics Unit features a green outer wall and an earthy wooden interior, providing students with a timeout space to relax and connect with nature. The Street Life Unit creates an open space for hip-hop artists and youth culture activities, complete with rooftop skating rink. The iTechno Unit is fully equipped to meet all the students’ study needs and features an interactive wall which allows residents to communicate with the outside world.

Best of all, the student sleeping units are modern, mobile and fun. Each unit is individually decorated and comes complete with large windows, comfy bedding, modern bathroom facilities and innovative furniture design concepts. The rooms are creative, private and, most importantly, designed to be conducive to an enjoyable and productive daily student life.

Students have been living in a prototype Hub_01 with an area of 225 m2 (2,421.8 ft2) that was launched in April 2011 and was presented last October at the 23rd International Biennale Interieur 2012 in Kortrijk, Belgium. The next phase of the project will see the housing occupied by guest lecturers and international students.

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