Giving efficiency a human touch: University students design their new “home”

Human needs go far beyond those of efficiency and optimisation, and understanding the social impact of urban changes is crucial. REN+HOMES’ Estonian demo site is adding a human touch to its renovation project.

The demo site of Tallinn consists in the renovation of a student accommodation building, using a green wall, batteries, and other technologies that will make it energy-positive. However, efficiency is not all, and only a human touch can make a dormitory really feel like home.

TalTech, the Estonian pilot leader, has recently involved students of the University of Tallin, asking them how they imagined the “Akadeemia tee 11/2” building. Two groups of students designed the external area of the building, according to their needs and perception of liveliness, and presented them to the TalTech real-estate department.

Both projects focused on creating welcoming spaces, that provide opportunities to socialise and relax. Plenty of seating areas and open spaces encourage interaction and foster a sense of community among students. Curving pathways surrounding the pavilions provide opportunities to meander and explore, deviating from the monotony of straight paths.

“Our project aims to cultivate a vibrant and inclusive environment that enriches the academic experience of TalTech students, fostering creativity, collaboration, and connection with nature” – stated one of the two groups, describing their project’s vision.

Involving residents is crucial to understanding their perceptions, expectations, and acceptance of the new environment. For this reason, social innovation is at the heart of the REN+HOMES project.

Starting from the design, tests, ideas, and feedback, REN+HOMES project will make the residents the real protagonists of the green transition.

Pictures credits: Johanna Mängli, Triin Mänd, Rain Põld, Gertrud Alekõrs, Carolin Värnik, Kaarel Volk, Andre Mägi

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