Testing and evaluating sustainable design practices
Paper in proceedings, 2014

his paper presents an in-progress design research conducted by teachers and students of Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and the University of Houston (USA), in the form of a Habitation Laboratory (HabLab) (Nystrom, et al. 2000) design studio and in connection with a Sustainable Living Lab project.The ‘HSB Sustainable Living Lab’, is a collaborative effort between the largest Swedish cooperative housing association, HSB, and Johanneberg Science Park, and will be built in 2014 as a student housing, located on Chalmers main campus. Its location offers a unique opportunity to merge research, education and outreach. A 400 m2 three-story building will accommodate 25-30 students and guest researchers. Student units are designed to be flexible and adaptable to possible layout adjustments and changes throughout a ten-year building permit timeframe. The structure will also include additional facilities such as an exhibition area, a common laundry room and various meeting zones. The paper identifies and investigates experiments in sustainable design education through the use of a design studio as the first stage within the larger “Sustainable Living Lab” research and building environment project. The goal of the educational initiative is implementing practice and construction experience into the learning process by combining hands-on approaches with theoretical development in trans-disciplinary real-life contexts, where design serves as a link between practices and disciplines. This is argued to be essential in the shaping of future responsible architectural practices. Possible applications of lessons learned for the design of future environments is a key inquiry. The project objectives are: developing participatory and user-centered design research methodologies and measures, as well as studying how sustainable innovations are applied and perceived in the living environments of everyday life.

Trans-disciplinary research





Olga Bannova

Chalmers, Architecture

Maria Nyström

Chalmers, Architecture

University of Gothenburg

Paula Femenias

Chalmers, Architecture

Pernilla Hagbert

Chalmers, Architecture

Larry Toups

Chalmers, Architecture

Proceedings from the International Conference on Architectural Research ARCC/EAAE, 12-15 February, 2014 Honolulu

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering


Other Social Sciences

Building Technologies

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

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