A Gem-Inspired Student Living Community for San Diego State University

June 28, 2024

Designing a student living apartment community presents a unique and exciting challenge. When Pierce Education approached ID Studios with their vision for San Diego State, we knew this project was something special. Inspired by the owner’s birthstone, the Topaz gem, we used it as a cornerstone for our design concept and infused the Topaz Student Apartment project with creativity and a touch of fun from inception to completion.

The Inspiration

Known for its striking facets, angles, and rich jewel tones, Topaz embodies a sense of brilliance and vibrancy. We visualized these qualities to be reflected in every aspect of the student living community. This inspiration guided our design choices, ensuring that the essence of the Topaz gem was evident throughout the project.

Presentation & Renderings

During the design process, we provided step-by-step presentations to keep the client involved at every stage. These detailed presentations ensured that Pierce Education could see our progress and provide feedback, making sure the final design perfectly matched their vision.

Using the gemstone inspiration as our guide, we created detailed renderings to bring our concept to life. These visuals offered a sneak peek into the future of this stunning student community. Each rendering showcased the gem-inspired theme, from the sharp, clean lines of the building’s exterior to the cozy, jewel-toned common areas, all meticulously designed to reflect the brilliance of Topaz.

Designed Spaces

We took great care in designing several key areas of the community to ensure they were both functional and fun. These areas include:

Lobby & leasing Center: A welcoming space infused with jewel tones and angular designs to set the stage for the rest of the community. Key elements include a stylish black metal staircase, large spherical pendant lights, and tall windows that enhance the open, airy feel of the space.

Game Room: This space features a vibrant and lively ambiance. It includes various gaming options like arcade machines and a foosball table. Key elements include a unique geometric acoustic ceiling design that adds a dynamic touch. The space is well-lit with natural light coming through the glass doors, enhancing its inviting and playful environment.

Student Lounge Area: Known as the “Jewel Box,” this space is designed to be cozy and inviting, featuring rich jewel tones and comfortable seating perfect for studying or socializing. The bright fuchsia walls and faceted commercial carpet squares on the floor add a lively and whimsical touch to the environment

Fitness Center: We optimized the space by placing the cardio equipment against the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the lobby, creating a larger open area for yoga classes, stretching, or weight training. Key elements include an energetic acoustic ceiling and linear lighting design, complemented by a bright peacock blue ceiling.


After months of dedication and hard work, we are proud to present a complete student living apartment community for San Diego State. The final project is a testament to the power of inspiration and thoughtful design.

Designing this project for Pierce Education was a remarkable journey. By drawing inspiration from the Topaz gem, we created a living space that is not only functional but also a bright and fun reflection of style and creativity. We are thrilled with the outcome and excited for the students of San Diego State to experience this unique and inspiring community.