When I first moved to Sweden almost a year ago I noticed that the way of living was in a way quite different to the UK. I moved into a block flats, similar to many others in the area, that had shared facilities and common areas including washing and drying rooms, guest apartment, dinner party room and BBQ area outside. As soon as I moved to Gothenburg I already felt part of a community.
This community living may continue to grow and be popular in the future. This week I visited a research building at Chalmers University called the “living lab” that is acting as an experiment on how a building of the future could be. The washing room was equipped with sofas and games so that people could spend time together and socialise whilst waiting for their washing and there was even a room called the “swap cube” where unwanted items could be left for others to use instead. This research project highlights the importance of understanding how people will actually live and use the building in their day to day lives.
In my job I design building services installations that will affect the living experience for the end user, focusing on their comfort, air quality and energy consumption. I am currently working on a project designing the building services for a new residential development for people with special needs. In this project in particular it is extremely important to think about how my design will affect the end user and how I can tailor it to specifically suit how they will live and use the building.
Will the way people live together change in the years to come? It is not only important to design for now, but to think how we can future proof for how people’s habits, patterns and behaviours could change over time. We already think about the future and about climate change in our design, but what about behavioural change in the way people live?