Historically, European fashion and design has outpaced the United States, and it appears they’re at it again in the design of university housing.

Three dormitories in France, Denmark, and Spain all take a modern design approach, providing a chic environment with communal areas and dorm rooms that give students more than just a blank slate. Whether you’re developing on- or off-campus housing, check out these three inventive structures for inspiration to build something that Gen Y will not only like, but also be proud of.

The ‘Pink Flamingo’/ Paris, France
Photo Credit: Cécile Septet

Pink Flamingo, Paris France

Designed by French architect Stéphane Maupin, this foundation-less dormitory is fittingly dubbed the "Pink Flamingo." The seven-story structure is supported by 27 columns which stand tall over the ground floor's numerous shops and dorm lobby. The variation of windows and color on the building's facade is in line with the layout options within: The building offers five different floorplans.

And some fun details give the building even more character: Balconies feature kitschy touches like bird cages and bicycles crafted into the metal frame. There's no doubt that the building was crafted for younger renters, who—if provided options—won't settle for anything less than unique and trendy.

Why does Gen Y love it?
• Bike storage: easy to access ramp from the ground floor
• Urban environment, walkability, proximity to public transportation
• Common areas: barbeque, outdoor garden, rooftop patio
• Workout areas
• Modern design (and design details)
• Balconies
• Multiple floorplan choices

Project details:
• 70 apartments for students, 1 basket playground, 1 commercial flat
• € 4,300,000 price tag

University Politècnica de Catalunya / Barcelona, Spain

What does Gen Y love even more than amenities and going green? Freedom.

This modular housing complex designed by H Arquitectes and dataAE is a dwelling complex for architecture students where they can design their own dorms. Two two-story dwelling houses surround a central atrium, which is "covered to create an intermediate bio-climactic space" that is energy-efficient and allows provides a venue for student gatherings. The project saves up to 70 percent of the energy used in standard building according to CTE regulations, but it's doubtful this is the only thing that attracted students to live there. Each unit is built with only the necessary fixed elements, leaving a blank slate to do with whatever they please. While student furniture businesses may be booming, a lot can be said for being able to nest and make a place completely your own.

Why does Gen Y love it?
• Large windows, simple and modern design
• Outdoor community areas
• Endless opportunities to make their spaces their own
• Environmentally-conscious design

Project Details:
57 studio units with kitchenette and bathroom, public atrium
• € 2,650,000 price tag

Tietgenkollegiet / Copenhagen Denmark
Photo Credit: mcamcamca

This visionary project aimed at building "the future of college" in a chic, unprecedented way has gained attention worldwide since its completion in 2006. The building is the brainchild of architects Lundgaard & Tranberg, who describe the 288,000 square-foot communal space as "college reflected in its architectural form, dialogue between the individual and the collective."

The seven-story circular building is divided into five vertical sections that contain all the college facilities, planted courtyard, common areas, and student housing all at the same time. One-stop shopping. Dorms are located on the outside layer of the cylinder, with views looking out on the surrounding city, and common facilities are on the interior layer of the building, facing out to the courtyard and core of the property.

Tietgenkollegiet truly has it all: Eco-friendly construction, beautiful modern design, social gathering areas, extravagant amenities, and an urban location. Check out this slideshow to see more images of the complex.

Why does Gen Y love it?
• Each room has French windows or a balcony; tons of natural light
• Plentiful common areas (30 kitchens, bike workshop, two music rooms,  courtyard)
• Exercise facilities
• Energy-efficient features (floor heating)
• Dorms each include private toilet and bath
• Urban proximity
• Bike parking, storage, and repair shop

Project Details:
• 360 rooms, each with private bath and toilet
• Rent for one room with small balcony: 2,700 kr / month

Where do you look for student housing inspiration?
Reach out to @MFEmagazine to start a conversation with us.