SMARTGenerations : First connected multi-generational building in Renens

Smart room


Nicolas Rieben and Christophe Oppliger

April 20, 2022

What’s SMARTGenerations, we hear you ask? It’s an amazing sustainable multigenerational building project. It was first created in Renens and it offers a safe space to live in while suiting their every need. What’s even more interesting, it does so at a reasonable price. The flats are amazingly flexible and customizable on request, changing for every new tenant that might have different needs healthwise. The flats even monitor health at all times, which is one less thing the tenants themselves have to worry about. SMARTGenerations are trying to connect all generations into one healthy community. They even have a mobile app that offers services such as messaging, posting advertisements between tenants, and more.

Want to learn more about this amazing project? Keep reading the article by Martine Bernier.

SMARTGenerations is a sustainable intergenerational building project. It consists of student studios and adapted senior flats that are completely interconnected. The project is based on sharing and coexistence and promotes natural exchange between residents within the building. In addition to the spacious flats, the tenants are provided with large communal and outdoor spaces.

According to projections by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the over-65s make up 18% of the Swiss population today and are expected to exceed 25% by 2040. More and more solutions to promote the health, safety and autonomy of older citizens are being explored as alternatives to hospital or nursing home stays. This includes the development of senior-friendly housing. In Switzerland, several models have already been developed, ranging from nursing homes to simple sheltered housing for older people. Despite the emphasis placed on safety, most of these living spaces do not address the problem of tenants’ changing health status over time. The same is true for feelings of isolation and social exclusion.

Tailor-made flats: The fittings can be extended according to the autonomy of the tenants

In Renens, in the Lausanne region, in the heart of a pleasant neighbourhood close to all amenities, the SMARTGenerations connected flats project was created. Inaugurated in June 2020, the building is self-sufficient thanks to geothermal energy and photovoltaic panels. It also offers its elderly tenants a safe living space adapted to their needs. All at a reasonable rental price. “Everything has been provided to make life easier for the elderly and to enable them to live at home in complete autonomy for as long as possible thanks to an advanced home automation system,” explain the architects who initiated the project. This offer was developed with EPFL’s networked housing specialist, the company DomoSafety and Dr Thierry Weber of Vivactis. “Our flats are customised and flexible on request, depending on the tenant’s state of health, with a remote assistance system, non-invasive motion sensors and even telemedicine devices. Tenants can thus benefit, if they so wish, from remote monitoring of their state of health and, if necessary, receive medical treatment outside the hospital,” says Dr Thierry Weber. These smart homes make it possible to react before the situation deteriorates, for example by home monitoring of chronic diseases or by continuing home rehabilitation of patients with a better quality of life.

Living together and developing relationships in a networked building

SMARTGenerations, as the name suggests, promotes the mixing of generations and fights against the isolation of seniors and students by encouraging them to meet in the same building. In addition to the 2.5 and 3.5 bedroom flats, the building offers furnished and equipped studios at affordable rents. Its location near ECAL, the UNIL-EPFL campus and public transport is ideal. Built on an affordable scale, the residence has fully furnished and equipped common areas: a lounge-library, a space for organising communal meals and a garden with vegetable patches. These are all cosy places to create connections between residents. The idea of “connecting the generations” is also implemented through a mobile app. that offers services such as messaging, an emergency alert system and also provides the possibility to post advertisements between tenants. A service exchange system between tenants is planned to make life easier for elderly residents and promote the spirit of solidarity. For example, a student can shop for a senior and he in turn can help out with other services in return. “Socio-economically and technologically timely, SMARTGenerations focuses on participation and solidarity so that seniors can live in their own homes for as long as possible and, above all, in the best possible conditions,” the architects are pleased to say

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