Teaching sustainability through living labs in architecture : the case study of the UPC-LOW3 prototype
Document typeConference report
Rights accessOpen Access
Sustainability is currently one of the most important issues to be integrated at all levels of teaching from kindergarten through to university up to lifelong learning activities of society as a whole. Specific disciplinary knowledge should be taught by adopting a holistic method, with a transdisciplinary approach towards the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability. The term “Sustainability Science” describes the corresponding concepts and methodologies. Within the career of Architecture and Architecture-related disciplines, new teaching formats are needed for this holistic approach for knowledge generation and transmission. Living Labs in architecture can be tools towards achieving a holistic approach in teaching sustainability, using real built environments for user-centred research and collaborative learning in a university campus. LOW3 is the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe solar house of UPC Barcelona Tech that since 2011 serves as Living Lab at the ETSAV campus at Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona). As a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), Living Lab LOW3 allows active teaching, research and innovation activities in the field of sustainable architecture and lifestyle. The present article describes the different stages of implementation of Living Lab LOW3 at the campus, a first evaluation of teaching and applied research activities through questionnaires and interviews with the participants and a critical analysis of the overall project concept. It shows that after 2 years of step-by-step implementation, Living Lab LOW3 has greatly contributed to a holistic-based sustainability education at the ETSAV School of Architecture. The knowledge generated was broadly disseminated and important generic competences were fostered through the project. Living Lab LOW3 is an ongoing project, which aims to innovate in sustainability education. Its outcomes and lessons learned can serve as an example for similar activities at other universities.
CitationMasseck, T. Teaching sustainability through living labs in architecture : the case study of the UPC-LOW3 prototype. A: Engineering Education for Sustainable Development. "EESD13 - Conference Proceedings". Cambridge: 2013, p. 1-9.