Welcome to Deathtrap Hall, the university’s newest high-density student sleeping facility. With room for 8,000 students in modest single-occupancy rooms, Deathtrap Hall’s ambitious design allows the university to convert the other dorms on the outskirts of campus into luxury condominiums that will contribute significantly to its bottom line.
Academe’s roots can be traced back to ancient Greece, and we can think of no better way to honor that tradition than to make Deathtrap Hall as spartan as possible. Every expense we could think of has been spared. Note the imposing façade that lacks any adornment except tasteful faux windows. The interior is just as unapologetically austere, from the lack of passenger elevators and natural light to the nearly total lack of toilet facilities.
Each bedroom features a bunk, a narrow standing desk, and some cupboards. Bunks are a generous 60-inches long and 24-inches wide. The mattresses, made of an experimental polymer developed by accident in our Food Science Lab, are virtually indestructible. They are waterproof, fireproof, and slashproof, and they may be used as shields in the event of an active shooter. They also smell slightly of bacon.
Each room is fitted with a WiLD (Window-Like Decoration) to create the illusion of easy access to the outside world. The WiLD is central to our efforts to create a psychologically viable compact sleeping space; it is not, as some critics have claimed, “the most diabolical torment that contemporary design has ever devised.” Real, functioning windows are expensive and inefficient, not to mention the fact that they might be used by desperate denizens as impromptu exits.
Students are advised to use the dorm only to sleep. For the sake of your wellbeing, you are required to acknowledge in writing that you agree to spend a maximum of eight hours per day inside Deathtrap Hall. If you exceed that limit, you may be barred from entering the facility for 48 hours, and your security deposit will be forfeit.
Curfew is 11 PM, which we feel is quite generous. After a 15-minute grace period, the building’s two entry doors will be chained shut until 5 AM. Any student who cannot make it in before curfew is welcome to sleep under the library’s colonnade for a small surcharge. Just be aware that competition for space may be fierce, and no bedding is provided.
We have intentionally designed Deathtrap Hall without any kind of communal spaces in order to discourage students from “hanging out.” Several vending machines in the basement provide access to essentials like soap, drinking water, and toilet tissue. In case students absolutely must eat, they have access to an experimental nutritive polymer paste developed by accident in our Chemistry Lab.
Rest assured that safety and security are top priorities. Residents will be under constant surveillance while they are inside the building. Cameras cover every entrance, stairwell, and hallway, and there are motion sensors in each bedroom, bathroom, and service elevator. Instead of hiring an expensive and largely ineffectual staff of Resident Assistants, we have relocated our entire Campus Security office, including the Rapid Response Team and the Sniper Platoon, to Deathtrap Hall’s basement.
You are really fortunate to be getting in on the ground floor, so to speak. In an open letter to the university community, faculty from the Sociology Department predicted that within five years, this dorm will be a Mad-Max-ian dystopia, with the smell of urine, vomit, cannabis, and bologna permeating every porous surface, residents pairing off in “Beat It” style knife fights for the right to use one of the working showers, and roving gangs of vigilantes performing arcane death rituals in hallways and stairwells.
We are not sure if all of that will actually come to pass, but we can say with confidence that Deathtrap Hall will defy all expectations, and it will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It may even mark the birth of an entirely new school of architectural thought.
You can see that we have really put a lot of thought into trying to rewrite the book on what constitutes acceptable living standards. We feel that this is in keeping with the spirit of academic inquiry that animates everything we do here at the university. Enjoy your stay.