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Four students from HafenCity University in Hamburg win the Dignified Home Design Competition.

"We aimed to design a space for people and at the same time provide a resilient place to live."

My name is Asad Tayyebi Fallah, I am originally from Mashhad, a city in northeast Iran. At present, me and my team are in Hamburg, Germany. We are currently pursuing our second semester in a masters program called Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP) at the HafenCity University in Hamburg.

REAP is a highly diverse, international and a multidisciplinary program that is concerned with sustainable planning at different scales. I met the team - Aaron, Abhishek and Gabriela through REAP. The team is a unique culmination of skills, culture and experiences as Aaron comes from Germany, Abhishek belongs to India and Gabriela is from Bolivia. Most of us are architects and have successfully completed our Bachelors in Architecture in our home countries. We all chose REAP as our masters course with an aim to acquire knowledge for a sensitive design that is local to different geographical and cultural settings.

What are your goals as a designer?

As a designer, we would like to contribute to sustainable architecture practices that are sensitive to a community’s needs and their culture, with respect to nature and its resources. A design that is economical, inclusive and promotes the use of local building materials as well as construction techniques. We believe that a good design does not necessarily have to stand out, but should rather adapt and integrate with the context.

What inspired you to enter this design competition?

As part of our first semester, we studied sustainable urban development in international cities and how climate change affects the life of people within such cities. One major issue is flooding, effects of which are being witnessed within the urban fabric of Kigali, so we aimed to design a space for people and at the same time provide a resilient place to live. We find this combination as a foundation for future discussions for a more responsive and context-oriented architecture. This competition provided us an opportunity to shape our ideas and to find a solution for the flood-prone areas in the city of Kigali.

How does your dignified home design speak to your personal experiences?

Most of us are from countries which are rich in terms of resources. However, there is a severe lack of strategies towards adaptive and resilient design approaches for a better future. We believe community-based solutions shed light on many potentials that we could learn and elaborate on. Thus, they could lead to creating the built-environment more accessible to the masses. In recent decades we (the architects) have distanced ourselves from the vast majority of people within the communities and this negligence shifted us to only a section of the population, which could afford to hire an architect. We concluded that the dignified home design was an opportunity to bridge this gap and honor the essence of life.

Any closing thoughts? Anything else you would like the world to know?

We strongly believe that issues related to the livability of communities are so complicated that we should reflect on them in a multi-disciplinary environment. We believe this approach provides more feasible solutions with a higher magnitude, and shifting architecture to the realm of communities, could be more influential, both on micro and macro scale.

You can follow the team on Instagram.

Aaron Wieland - @avrcn

Abhishek Sharma - @sharmaji_germanywale

Asad Tayyebi Fallah - @asad_tf

Gabriela Lugones Guzman - @gabriela_lug

Asad Tayyebi Fallah, Aaron Wieland, Abhishek Sharma, Gabriela Lugones GuzmanAsad Tayyebi Fallah, Aaron Wieland, Abhishek Sharma, Gabriela Lugones GuzmanAsad Tayyebi Fallah, Aaron Wieland, Abhishek Sharma, Gabriela Lugones GuzmanAsad Tayyebi Fallah, Aaron Wieland, Abhishek Sharma, Gabriela Lugones Guzman
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