Innovation and collaboration were the common themes among student housing projects across Europe which took home top prizes from the Class of 2020’s Building Bridges Over Growing Barriers conference in Lisbon this November.
Photo: The PIE News
Staytoo Kaiserslautern won the award for ‘Best co-revolution’ from the student housing thinktank, demonstrating a commitment to working in partnership with public sector organisations when developing accommodation projects.
Their German project featured office space for start-up businesses alongside living space for students and researchers at the University of Kaiserslautern.
The building involved local communities from day one to give developers a “sound understanding of the local culture and needs of the city and its inhabitants”.
In Sweden, student housing at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), designed with smart installations, won the Property innovation and sustainability award.
Einar Mattson Forskningen hosts the KTH Live-in lab in one of its houses on the campus, where industry, academics and local people work together to develop technically advanced living quarters.
The project consists of 305 student apartments and a KTH Live-in lab that can be adapted based on the needs of specific research.
In November, in a joint study with Karolinska Institute, KTH was given funding for a study of innovative ventilation strategies and allergen-free indoor environments.
Guro Gafvelin, professor at Karolinska Institute and involved in the study sees distinct benefits that the KTH Live-in lab offers.
“For allergy researchers, Live-In Lab offers a unique opportunity to study how efficiently different air purification systems remove the furnace allergen in a natural living environment.”
The UK’s University of Edinburgh walked away with the Outstanding residence life initiative for its projects focusing on using animals to engage and ensure student wellbeing.
Animal-assisted activities at the university include the ‘Paws fur a break’ sessions in collaboration with Canine Concern Scotland Trust, animal handling workshops in accommodation and beekeeping classes.
“Events are held during the winter and spring exam period across student accommodations, attracting over 600 students,” the university said in its application.
Fellow UK entrant, CRM Students, took the Best operator of the year award for work with a specialist agency to promote the business to the Chinese market. The initiative uses WeChat and Weibo which the company says is already having direct results.
Operating over 75 student schemes, with over 22,000 bed spaces throughout the UK, the list of institutions that CRM works with include Imperial College, The University of Birmingham and the University of Edinburgh.
The awards were part of the Class of 2020 annual conference, focusing on issues around supply, development and partnership in student housing.
Judges of the awards included The PIE’s Amy Baker, as well as Samuel Vetrak, CEO of Student Marketing, Paloma Lisboa, head of student accommodation at King’s College London and João Pinto, president of the Erasmus Student Network.