Spring 2009

4.556 J / MAS.551 J Design Workshop: Design without Boundaries
Designing the Connected Sustainable Home

Instructors: William J. Mitchell, Federico Casalegno (MEL, Design Lab), Pattie Maes (Media Lab)
Course Collaborators: Orkan Telhan, Juhong Park

Prereq: Permission of instructors required
Classes: Thursdays 10am – 1pm
G (Spring)

First Class meeting:
Thursday, Feb 5th, 10:00am, MIT Design Lab Conference Room, NE18, 4th floor

Class description:
Among architects and designers, the notion of critical radical sustainability is an emerging notion. Most efforts in this area focus on the use of sustainable building materials and green energy. We are taking a broader approach; we call it the “Connected Sustainable Home.”

Our vision is of a home that is not only built with sustainable materials and that uses green energy, but also takes full advantage of all the digital world has to offer to create a building that can respond to its environment and to the needs of its inhabitants more intelligently. It employs the latest in what we know about artificial intelligence, as well as advanced robotics, to improve the quality of life for those who live in the home. And, going even further, it is a home that by its very existence and the way it “works” optimizes human behavior and thus promotes social sustainability.

This class will provide opportunities to pursue real-world design projects that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, apply advanced technologies and address significant social issues concerning the design of the “Connected Sustainable Home.”

We will be particularly focusing on:

  • Robotic Architecture
  • Home as Personal Trainer
  • Green Energy Systems

The goal of the course will be not only be to generate exciting new ideas and technologies that could have a major impact the design of Connected Suitable Homes, but also to implement specific design proposals and created prototypes during the term, suitable for potential further development. This will be a very hands-on workshop and a variety of projects will be offered to students that will work in multidisciplinary teams. During the first class we will present the workshop and select students.

The research for the Connected Sustainable Home is conducted in collaboration with Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) in Trento. There will be bi-weekly meetings where students and researches at FBK will remotely exchange research updates. Students will travel to Trento, Italy for mid-semester review and meet with their research collaborators at FBK.

Workshop - Spring 2009