COVID-19 pandemic alerts us about the future of the architectural design of our built environment. During this pandemic, buildings have functioned unexpectedly for different purposes and lengths of stay. Some student hostels have been transformed from their standard operations to become quarantine buildings, such as Maqam 4, one of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) female hostels. We were interested in examining the hostel design and function under this uncommon situation to explore a potential need for a new building typology for university students. Therefore, we sought to investigate the impact of the hostel design, during its both quarantine and standard operations, on students' well-being. Studies concerned with students' well-being during COVID-19 were mainly using standard psychiatric scales to gain quantitative measures for certain predefined mental disorders through self-reporting questionnaires. We aimed to implement a more intercave approach navigating students' feelings and gaining a rich insight of their perceptions about the built environment. For that, concepts of the Personal Construct Theory (PCT) and its associated Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) were targeted as a method for this aim in a small-scale research. RGT is a structured interview aims to find out how people make sense of their experiences. In this pilot study, perceptions of quarantined and non-quarantined students who stayed in the same hostel, case of Maqam 4, were gained through semi-structured individual interviews. The results revealed the good potential for the use of RGT in the full-scale research. These results articulated the kind of hostels that university students are willing to stay in normal and extreme events such as COVID-19. It also questioned whether there is a future need for a new building typology to emerge or a resilient design to cope with different living scenarios.