MySpace @Drostdy, the first project combining the expertise of dhk Architects and dhk Interior Design (dhki), is a complete reimagining of the Stellies student experience. Bold and colourful, the co-living hub is the third addition to MySpace Residence’s repertoire, joining MySpace @Dorpstreet and MySpace @Paradys in the family. Here, modern design meets comfort and convenience, with community-minded living central to its fun design.
The existing retail centre behind the old historical Dros Hotel had to be demolished completely. Thereafter, the ground was excavated for two new parking basements below, and a new student residential complex was erected behind the old building. A glass-roofed atrium entrance space was constructed between the two buildings to tie them together and overlooking balconies were added to the apartments on the Bird Street side. The old Dros building was cleaned and painted and a new balcony was added to the old theatre entrance. Additionally, the surrounding pavement areas were repaved with klompie bricks to bring back some of the historical fabric to the area.
The brief was as practical as it was aspirational. dhki was tasked to create a space that is a home away from home, within a safe, vibrant container that inspires the occupants in their tertiary education path.
The intervention was focused on the public areas, lounges, deli, library, gym, laundry, and study areas, for which the client commissioned an identity that would appeal to a youthful audience and lifestyle. Site handover took place in April 2021 and the entire project lasted eight months.
dhki employed bold and youthful colours — sunshine yellow, forest green, and blush pink on a neutral tone foundation — to denote the demarcation and functionality of each zone. Each colour was allotted a specific function in line with colour psychology research, with the intention that this will guide all future developments. Another tool the interiors team employed was the use of large-format graphics on focal and feature walls to further emphasise the youthful energy of the space. They also considered the flexibility of this medium. In future, the simple change of a wallpaper design will ensure that the space stays current. Similarly, should the painted graphics need updating, this can be done with ease. The finishes are corporate grade, selected based on their durability and ability to withstand a high-traffic student environment. The execution and application of these materials, however, maintains the youthful spirit and design dynamism of the space, despite their practicality, setting the residence apart from most student accommodation offerings. An example of this is the floor of the library, which features an inexpensive, durable corporate carpet tile, but installed in an unusual pattern for visual interest.
In addition to the lush, planted courtyard (ground floor) and terrace (first floor), which allow for communing outdoors, and fully-equipped recreational and gym spaces, there are various design choices that allude to the importance of a sense of community. A wide seating variety — from booths to cosy pods — allow for collaborative working and eating. Likewise, visual elements such as the custom designed joinery pieces and recognisable ‘tree’ structure are inspired by the concept of gathering. When people meet together under a tree, in the shade, we share ideas and build community. This element forms part of the key identity of MySpace, and will create a sense of cohesion across all its residences.
dhk and dhki interrogated the various ways in which people share knowledge and learn. The solutions implemented in the design encourage various levels of focus, ranging from intimate individual study nooks to larger collaborative spaces. With the belief that one can learn while having fun, the deli, coffee bar, and entertainment areas provide a playful, robust, and multifunctional setting for this exact reason. This dynamic approach to accommodating various forms of learning is directly linked to an agile work environment. By creating this type of platform for students at the beginning of their career paths, they will be well prepared for future work environments and life in an agile world.