Architects Design Spaces That Bring Students Together, While Also Giving Them Room to Breathe

This is an excerpt from a Student Housing Business article, which can be read in full at

The team at Charlan Brock Architects has not only been busy in the University of Florida market, it has also been fulfilling the city of Gainesville’s needs. CBA is responding nimbly to fluctuating materials costs and altering amenity spaces, moving more inside space outdoors in response to the changing behavior of students.

“Outdoor space is a premium,” says Architect Cristian Oquendo. “Outdoor spaces have always been important but COVID has pushed us and also pushed our clients to think more about how to add spaces and make them comfortable. We have found that what we are building is not enough for the demands of outdoor space because of COVID. Even when the pandemic is controlled, this trend will remain for another year or two based on how people are going to behave.”

12th and 4th Apartments

One such project that spotlights outdoor interactions among many other unique designs is 12th and 4th Apartments in Gainesville. These are urban infill, eight-story mixed-use apartments with retail on the ground floor and rooftop amenities including a rooftop pool. The 232-unit, 663-bed property is about to begin construction.

“The interesting thing that happened on this project was that we had to change the amenity space during and after COVID,” says Oquendo. “It got bigger. We used to have 30 square feet per student or per bed.” Oquendo says that most designs today need to feature roomier amenity space, averaging approximately 35 square feet per-bed. In addition to enlarging open areas, CBA also had to tweak designs in real time, managing rising lumber prices, which were at an all-time high.

Aero on 24th

Childs Dreyfus Group has also contributed to the modern and fun collection of off-campus apartment options for University of Florida students and worked alongside CBA on the project coordination of two recent properties – Campus Circle Gainesville and Aero on 24th. The 456-bed Campus Circle Gainesville, which opened in June 2020, incorporates memorable design using Florida’s school colors and other school-spirited accents in a branded, friendly way. The space was designed with powered furniture selections, study nooks and indoor-outdoor accessibility. “Building community was top-of-mind while programming and designing this space, ensuring students feel comfortable, make friends and thrive in their first home away from home,” says Rene Pabon, president and CEO of The Childs Dreyfus Group. Also in Gainesville, Aero on 24th offers a generous amenity package that includes a pool, expansive study areas and clubhouse lounges.

“These amenities help create a sense of home and set a new standard in student living,” says Michael Augustine, co-founder of Homestead Development Partners. “Technology integration cultivates a friendly learning environment with amenities that promote community interaction for the ideal college lifestyle.”