Living labs as a pedagogical teaching tool for green building design and construction in hot arid regions

Marwa Dabaieh*, Deena El Mahdy, Dalya Maguid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
1030 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainability and environmental illiteracy is still common in architectural curricula for undergraduate education. This may lead to further generations of architects who are unequipped for global sustainability goals. This paper discusses a living lab teaching experience which investigates the roles of learning through doing and hands-on building experimentation to root an understanding of sustainability in architectural education. The design studio at the centre of this paper was focused on passive, low-cost and energyefficient approaches suitable for a hot arid climate. The students were asked to design a refugee shelter prototype that was cost- and time-efficient, that would also present the least impact on the environment after demolition. The course's teaching process also included invited guest speakers, field trips and a hands-on workshop for low-tech building techniques as a prelude to designing and building a full-scale physical model. Thermal comfort and energy consumption for the design proposal were evaluated by simulation, and the physical model was evaluated by field monitoring. This paper outlines the design studio pedagogical experimental living lab process and the resulting students' projects. It also shows the various skills the students acquired and suggests how this type of pedagogy can be viewed as a pilot model for green architecture education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchnet-IJAR : International Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)338-355
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Action research
  • Arid climate
  • Learning by doing
  • Living lab
  • Low impact design


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