Student flats usually depict the poky, dingy hovel from The Young Ones – and the cooking rarely outdoes the humble pot noodle.
But that won’t be what greets Edinburgh University postgraduates when they move into the new Holyrood Residence Hall next year, with a massive banqueting hall and eight communal kitchens planned to cater for nearly 500 tenants.
The huge housing development, under construction on Holyrood Road, will be home to a large number of international students, and is being designed to foster a sense of community for homesick scholars. Residents will have open-plan restaurant-style kitchens built to accommodate 60 people. University chiefs say the scheme is being modelled on the University of Chicago’s International House, which was built in 1932 with a donation from John D Rockefeller with the aim of fostering closer links between students from different countries by forcing them out of their rooms and into communal spaces to eat, socialise and study.
Richard Kington, director of accommodation services at Edinburgh, said: “We are very excited about this new style of accommodation, something we have been working on for over six years and can’t wait to welcome the first residents in September 2015.
“Even for postgraduates, many of whom will have previously experienced undergraduate accommodation in their own countries, living away from home, possibly in a foreign country, can still be challenging. For many, their time at Edinburgh may be for only a year and it is important that as much benefit be gained from that time with us.”
Oliver Harrison, creative director at CampusLife, which runs website StudentCooking.tv, said: “Holyrood Residence’s dining hall sounds like a fantastic idea and communal cooking and eating is something we really encourage students to do. Cooking as a group means ingredients are often cheaper when bought in large quantities and it also saves a lot of energy too. In that kind of kitchen, we’d recommend cooking up a tasty casserole or shepherd’s pie, something not too hard to make, and let the oven do the hard work.”