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Design Competition: European students motivated to face the ageing population challenge

by | Feb 6, 2018

Collage - Design Competition

On deadline day, 30 teams had submitted their projects representing five European countries: Finland, the Netherlands, UK, Germany and France. Almost all participants are architecture students.

The quality of the entries is remarkable. In fact, students addressed the topics of accessibility, health and affordability and explored as well themes like flexibility, adaptability, ICT technologies, modular components, inclusive designs… Here’s a quick review of competing projects.

Why?

Participants agree on the urgent need to develop new housing concepts suitable for elderly people. The growth of the ageing population in the coming years is viewed as one of the biggest European challenges. The starting point of many projects is the loneliness of the elderly. By “accessible housing”, the majority of participants not only means specific facilities but also social spaces allowing elderly people to still be a part of the community.

What?

In response to this big challenge, lots of projects focus on building a sense of community including elderly in the society. Even if the concepts are very different, their main goal is to provide the ageing population the opportunity to still be active. “Inclusion” seems to be a key-aspect of accessible housing for the participants. In order to do so, projects focus on the relationship between public and private spaces; lots of them with the safety aspect in mind.

How?

Even if students share the same vision about accessible housing, each project is unique. Some students worked on the idea of mobility (wheelchair, access to public transports) and others included ICT technologies in their concept. Each solution has its own design and participants used very different construction materials. Furthermore, a few students took the affordability of the dwellings into account and others focused on the appropriation of living spaces by residents. However, many students integrated services for elderly people, and some of them also thought of services provided by them as well. Mix-use, intergenerational, pedestrian-friendly, flexibility and adaptability seem to be the key-elements of accessible housing, according to student projects.

Next steps?

On February 10, the European Federation for Living (EFL) working group “Accessible Housing” will meet in Nuremberg, Germany to prepare the Jury meeting (scheduled in mid-February). Entrants who are awarded prizes or honorable mentions will be contacted in April 2016. The results of the competition will be published and the prizes will be awarded during the next EFL conference in Helsinki, from 10-13 May 2016.MHV

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