The ground hidden beneath the Paviljoen has been ready for construction for some time now. Today, students Thomas Lippens (Electrical Engineering) and Sidney den Engelsman (Built Environment) got to drill one of the first concrete piles into the ground. “We used a button and a joystick and we reached a depth of 26.44 meters”, says Lippens. Woonbedrijf arranged for them to carry out this task in order to reward the students’ involvement as well as show it to the public.
Next to the construction trailer, vice president of the Executive Board Nicole Ummelen spoke about the historical value of the site that will accommodate the new residences. “This is where it all started for TU/e in 1956. The pain we feel over the loss of the Paviljoen gives way to the overwhelming sense of pride we have for this project. We want to provide space for a vibrant community on campus.”
Ingrid de Boer of Woonbedrijf – who used to draw construction sketches here as a student in 1980, in the B ateliers of the Paviljoen – is confident that this vibrancy will be achieved. “This is where it’ll be happening”, she says. “Those 735 housing units will increase housing options on campus by 20 percent. In order to build up the community, we’re getting students involved through LOT.”
Among the crowd is Lara Hofstra, TU/e’s Student Diversity Officer. She has her reservations about these community building efforts. “I’m curious to see how they’ll go about it. This is a good time to seriously explore how to get people to form a community. And I hope they’ll include Aurora and Luna as well.”
To symbolize that the project is a great puzzle, the parties involved get to stack seating cubes that, as a whole, represent an artist impression of the buildings. Mayor Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who met with the entire Board of Mayor and Aldermen and later with TU/e’s Executive Board in Atlas earlier today, also gets to place a cube.
Alderwoman for Housing, Mieke Verhees, stresses the importance of the residential towers. “The entire region is planning for growth and it’s the municipality’s job to provide sufficient housing.” According to her, students should be valued, “because it is students who will invent tomorrow’s solutions to problems that exist in the municipality.”