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FIRSTlife ● Prague, Czech Republic

● Projectvideo

Teamfoto von FIRSTlife

● Team FIRSTlife © FIRSTlife | SDE 21/22

University ● Czech Technical University in prague
Task ● Renovation & Addition of storey, Prague

About the team

The team consists of about 35 students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral study programmes mostly from CTU Faculties of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Architecture. The team members bonded through their mutual interest in sustainability in any form, any shape, employing any environmental aspect. A few of us participated in the U. S. Solar Decathlon 2013 where the team gained the overall third place and won the Architectural contest.

Our motivation

While sustainable and energy-efficient buildings are a frequently discussed topic that we deeply care about, this project is about much more to us. We project our own experiences and perception into it. The unavailability of apartments and high prices in Prague affect all the young people every day. The student dormitories capacity does not cover the demand. These circumstances bring students to, lightly said, challenging life situations. Students, who have ever experienced living in dormitories, concur, that if any part of university student life deserves an improvement, it should be the dormitories. We know it, we have lived there.

Therefore, FIRSTlife aims at the development of the new accommodation capacities for the students by extending the existing dormitories and bringing the living standard for all the inhabitants to another level.

Our motivation

An area map of FIRSTlife

● Area Map © FIRSTlife | SDE 21/22

Image of the urban situation of team FIRSTlife in Prague.

● Urban Situation © FIRSTlife | SDE 21/22

Project description

There is a general lack of student accommodation in Prague. Moreover, if you are lucky enough to get a room, it will most likely be in the communist era built dormitory where the time has stopped. We aim to tackle these challenges by developing a modular system enabling addition of storeys on top of the existing building to extend its accommodation capacity fulfilling current living standards. Along with renovation of the existing building including smart control integration, it allows to significantly improve the overall energy performance and quality of living.

Our aim is to contribute to improvement of student living with a vision of bringing as much as possible with minimum impacts on the environment while fulfilling these goals:

  • increase student accommodation capacity, ensuring higher living standards than the existing building;
  • improve the overall energy performance of the whole building;
  • solution applicable to wide range of similar buildings;
  • respect the architectural and urban context of the locality.

Our model building, Vetrnik dormitory, built in 60’s of 20th century, is the typical representative of the above-mentioned case. Increasing the accommodation capacity will be reached by adding a storey on the top of the street wing and two storeys on the side wings. Besides the student rooms, the new storeys will also provide communal spaces, enabling social life to thrive. In case of current building, necessary envelope improvements will be designed, consisting of insulating facades and window replacement.

New HVAC system supported by smart Measurement and Control system is supposed to be installed and connected with new storeys. New roofs will accommodate integrated PV and greenery. We take it for granted that we will use ventilation with heat recovery and sustainable rainwater management. System optimization and renovation will result in significantly reduced energy consumption of the whole building despite its extension.

The load from the added storeys will be transferred to the existing building using a steel grid supported by the existing load bearing walls. The new structures are composed as lightweight using the wooden panels to minimize not only the additional load, but also the carbon footprint, which is another very important aspect of our design. Prefabricated panels composed to modular system cells will allow investors to reduce the assembly time and minimize bothering the inhabitants from the existing building and surroundings.

The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.


Josef Haber, Contact person for media

Social Media

Instagram: @firstlife_ctu


FIRSTlife ● Prague, Czech Republic