For many years, it was a sore sight for many Wageningen inhabitants: the barren terrain on the corner of the Stadsbrink, more commonly known as Kirpestein. Once the location of an automobile business with the same name, whose premises were torn down in 2004. Well, most of it anyway. A small corner of the former building remained upright for over fifteen years, while the remainder of the property became overgrown with plants, was used as a parking lot and was the site of the occasional protest against structural vacancy.
Finally, the location has a new purpose as a student housing complex Churchillweg. The building has room for 127 students in 45 independent rooms and 82 rooms with communal facilities. The floor is shiny, and everything is spotless. Masters’ student Spatial Planning Stijn Peeters has just moved into one of the new studios. An enormous upgrade from his previous room at Student Plaza. ‘Two years ago, I wanted to live close to the university, close to the Forum building where most of my lectures are. But over the last year and a half, there was not much to do on the campus, which made me prefer housing close to the city centre. When these rooms became available, it was a golden opportunity.’
The floors all have a mix of studios and rooms with shared facilities. A great idea, according to Peeters. ‘If you live in a studio, you have fewer social contacts, and it is easier to become isolated. I think the choice to set up the rooms in this fashion was a conscious one so that all the residents are involved. And, it works: on the very day I came to paint my new room, someone from the shared rooms dropped in to invite me for coffee.’
Happy with the move? ‘Yes, it truly is the best of both worlds. There is no need to share a bathroom, but you still have “housemates”. The only drawback is that I don’t have enough things to fill this space.’