The architects transported the Oxbridge model of staircases or flats in units of 10 rooms each very successfully to Men’s Residence. Each flat had a bath and 2 showers, plus hand basins and toilets on each floor. Massive oil-fired boilers in the basements of A and M flats supplied them. The rooms, with built-in teak cupboards and customised furniture a far cry from today’s S A pine, were nearly twice the size of the standard residence room today. Decades of rough housing have done little to impact the solid craftsmanship of another age. The ultimate success of the design is the socialising space on the landings where generations have set the world to rights or hatched solutions for everything from academic success to triumphant trysts.
In line with keeping with absolute fairness, upon arrival each freshman places their hand in a bowl with all the available rooms in Smuts Hall. Without looking they then take a piece of paper and the room number they selected is then their room for the year.
This method of allocation removes all biases and ensures that from day one no one is discriminated against and results in the freshmen meeting the most diverse group of individuals possible.