VIRTU/e ● Eindhoven, Netherlands
University ● Eindhoven University of Technology
Task ● Renovation & addition of storey, mirke district, Wuppertal
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.
About the team
VIRTUe currently consists of 20 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology. We aim to enlarge and diversify the group.
How can one make sustainable development a daily matter for inhabitants of European cities? High-tech solutions alone cannot transform the urban scenario if the users are not considered in the design. In the end, inhabitants need to afford and be willing to adopt these innovations in their lives. That’s why VIRTUe has an integrated approach to the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic integration. Our goal is to transform the static built environment, promote social interaction in cities and activate people to embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
‘Feeling personally called in for action and playfully engaged to make small changes, in addition to being invited to share with and learn from the surrounding environment is the spark that leads people to a ripple of change.’
● Marianna Angelini, Communication Manager, VIRTUe
We embrace the situation of renovation and vertical extension as it is the one which is most applicable to growing and densifying cities, especially in Europe. However, we want to abandon the correlation between vertical extension and monotonous and alienated atmosphere, which moves away from any form of interaction. Our vertical extension rather recalls a village-kind of building, where inhabitants are prompted to share facilities, interact, and influence each other.
We aim for our vertical village to be an example not only for the social environment that it is created for, but also for the energy concept that is adopted. For us, it is not about the latest invention of high tech, but about how much we can spread the use of certain energy systems. We are striving to make the energy systems more feasible to implement gradually on a large scale.
Our attractive vertical village, which plays host to multiple functions and a strong community atmosphere, takes the place of a monotonous vertical extension. The façade and the roof increase the building’s energy efficiency by hosting an innovative PV system. The users are fully involved in the energy, heat and water management. Regulating ventilation, heat storage and energy production are made easy for the inhabitants thanks to smart control panels in the communal areas and within the apartments.
An active, attractive and adaptive design is brought to a diverse and inclusive social scenario. From the most private spheres of their homes up to the urban level, people are activated to reduce their footprint by personally being engaged in a canvas of social interaction. The change in lifestyle is made attractive by affordable, comfortable housing combined with a community of appealing influence. It also involves a novel approach to building construction, with demountable connections and reusable materials. This contributes to a shift towards a dynamic built environment, which can adapt to the needs of users and respond to changes in market demand.
The focus of the project ranges from the urban situation to a house demonstration unit of the designed overall building. The urban mobility plan involves shared electric vehicles, stored in lively mobility hubs. Pedestrian-oriented, green public spaces and flexible urban furniture create social squares where inhabitants may interact with each other. The situation of renovation and the vertical extension makes the project versatile for densifying cities.