’Defining challenges for sustainable future homes: A review of earlier experimental activities
Paper in proceeding, 2014
A renewed focus on innovation in the building sector calls for research strategies that will strengthen the position of holistic architectural knowledge for the benefit of a sustainable built environment. This paper presents research that focuses on future homes that will enable radical reduced resource use related to living. In order to reduce the environmental impact of living and dwelling we need to address not only buildings and physical structures but also user behavior and lifestyle choices. Contemporary housing development is defined by a view of the housing market based on surveys among limited groups of people and not on actual needs and wishes representing the wider population. Furthermore, the actual housing market does not deliver structures that will enable sustainable changes to the environmental impact of living.
The aim for the paper is to define architectural research for future homes in relation to a planned purpose built Living Lab. Research should support a radical reduction of the environmental impact of living. A review of 20th century housing research and development in Sweden and France provides insights from previous successes as well as failures in the field. Results point to the importance of involving end-users and to build on solid understanding of the use of homes. In addition, already explored innovation regarding space use can with advantage be repeated, as contemporary users are likely to react differently than users did in the past. We propose a three-step model for research starting with empirical studies of the use of homes among a large variety of households (i.e. regarding size, age groups, cultures etc.), prototyping of new architectural concepts (e.g. related to layout, interiors, equipment, products etc.) and test and evaluation of these in the Living Lab.