System Design

The aim of this project is to bring together innovations and experiential findings to provide an arena for:

  1. Real life references
  2. Inspiration concept homes
  3. Well tested prototypes at scales from the detailed to the full-scale

A further aim is to provide new ways for the Swedish building industry to work and an arena for knowledge production and dissemination.

There is a widespread perception that the building sector incorporates research findings slowly and one issue may be that discipline oriented investigation may focus on problems irrelevant to real-life construction. This mismatch has been described theoretically (Gibbons et al 1994, Nyström 2002) in terms of the disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches presented in this proposal. The strategy for overcoming this mismatch is the creation of common arena where the implication from design is that “everybody is a designer” (Papanek 1995). This arena for mutual learning creates a dialogue between re searchers, practitioners and clients (Eden and Jönsson 2002) where product development then follows the identified processes (Lundqvist 1995):

  1. Production of models of the artifact
  2. Production of knowledge about the artifact in its future context
  3. Production of conceptual models about the artifact and the problem area connected to the production of the artifact
  4. Production of the artifact

Coordinated architectural assessments in the arena have three foci. First, societal influences upon home design which include a review of available public and scientific data as well as conducting new surveys to determine social trends and conditions that influence societal home needs and preferences. The latter implies demographic population shifts, cultural/lifestyle changes related to technological and economic developments, evolving attitudes and practices about ecologically responsible sustainable design.

Second, psychological responses to design accommodations where user groups will participate in surveys and laboratory settings to determine responses to varied building layout and internal design features. An example is to explore and analyse minimum acceptable volume requirements for psychological comfort, assuming a decrease in future home sizes due to rising land, construction and energy costs. Further, different psychological requirements must be identified for the adaptive use of future homes for many different needs (works, restoration, play social activities). Other studies will include research of human responses to various materials, to colour and lighting, to special acoustic treatments, to innovative design concepts. These studies will be instrumental in understanding how the quality of home experiences can be perceptually and psychologically improved with additional space and energy use.

Third, lessons from extreme environments. The arena will draw upon lessons from space mission design; such as the International Space Station, and high fidelity simulations of long duration missions beyond low Earth orbit. Experiences will also be gathered from extreme habitations on Earth to examine technical and psycho-social factors that guide new design. These lessons include ways to maximize the psychological acceptability and functional utility of small habitats.


More information:

Paula Femenias
Built Environment and Sustainable Development

Maria Nyström