Habitat Unit

Erasmus Mundus, 2013 – 2016
Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Ursula Hartig, Nina Pawlicki, Simon Colwill

EDBKN: European DesignBuild Knowledge Network

The 'European DesignBuild Knowledge Network' promotes the implementation, distribution, and sustainability of the DesignBuild methodology.

The DesignBuild-Studio is a teaching and research model focusing on the realisation of building projects, from the initial design to the process of building by the students themselves. It is based on a specific building task and is carried out in an academic environment, engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration in fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, construction engineering and sociology.

DesignBuild combines the synergetic potentials of teaching, research and practice in ways that are still far from being exhausted.

DesignBuild-Studios address cultural and social challenges and tackle new experimental and technical solutions, involving the building industry and local craftsmanship. They are increasingly seeking cooperation with partners in developing and emerging countries, where 'low-cost','high efficiency' and sustainability considerations intertwine with cultural acceptance, aesthetics, appropriateness, participation and education issues.

The focus is placed on 'Architecture of Social Engagement' with goals to provide social support, gain professional knowledge, and to make students more sensitive to the social and cultural responsibility implications of their work.

The European dbXchange Network will stimulate sustainable, practice related and interdisciplinary knowledge-transfer, foster multinational cooperation and promote research related to DesignBuild activities. It aims to become a lively and growing association, representing the DesignBuild initiatives and providing a corporate identity aimed towards national and international institutions. It will promote the visibility of DesignBuild Studios, enhance the efficiency and quality of the execution of the projects and form a strong partner for the collaborating networks dbX, SEED and Live Projects Network. It will address stakeholders performing in the fields of research, non-academic and higher education, the building industry, clients, designers and planners, constructors and users.

In order to reach these goals, an interactive DesignBuild web platform is currently under development with the intention to become the most effective tool of the EDBKN. The beta version of the platform has recently been launched: www.dbXchange.eu. A pilot DesignBuild project has been developed in Egypt and monitored on the web platform to improve performance.

The outcomes and results of the research project will be disseminated on the designbuildXchange platform and in printed publications. 

The project is funded by European Union Erasmus Mundus Programme.

Academic partners+

Zentrum für internationale und interkulturelle Kommunikation, TU Berlin
Dr. Nazir Peroz, Saskia Steinbeck, Florian Träger

Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Univ. Ass. DI Dr. techn. Peter Fattinger

German University Cairo, Egypt
Prof. Cornelia Redeker

Dalhousie University, Canada
Prof. Dr. Ted Cavanagh

Center for Public Interest Design, Portland State University, USA
Prof. Sergio Palleroni

Institutional partners+

Opening at Technische Universität Berlin: Kickoff Meeting (November 11th-13th, 2013)

Conference Dalhouse University, Halifax: WORKING OUT: thinking while building (October 16th-18th, 2014)

Workshop at GUC, Cairo: Partipatory Planning Strategies (September 20th-28th, 2014)

Workshop at GUC, cairo: Execution Planning (November 9th-15th, 2014)

Workshop at GUC, Cairo: Building Skills (December 12th-15th, 2014)

Opening Ceremony o Dahab Island, Cairo: Pre-Inauguration of the Pilot-Project Malaab El Cobri (March 1st, 2015)

Presentation at GUC, Cairo: Design Talks (March 4th, 2015)

Conference at Lawrence Technological University, Detroit: Structures for Inclusion 15 (April 10th-12th, 2015)
Presentation of the web-platform

Exhibition and closing workshop at Vienna University of Technology, Austria (April 2016)


Simon Colwill (2014) Landscape+Architecture: An interdisciplinary design-build teaching approach. In WORKING OUT: thinking while building. ACSA: not published yet.

Nina Pawlicki (2014) High tech / low threshold: digital communication in DesignBuild initiatives. In WORKING OUT: thinking while building. ACSA: not published yet.

Simon Colwill & Nina Pawlicki (2014) Adaption to the context: a jam manufactory for NAXIÍ. In WORKING OUT: thinking while building. ACSA: not published yet.