Definition of Living Laboratories: Physical regions or virtual realities, or interaction spaces, in which stakeholders are collaborating for the creation, prototyping, validating, and testing of new ideas in real-life contexts. (Editorial Living Labs, Technology Innovation Management Review, Sept. 2012)
A living laboratory is an experimental environment, used to explore and experience new ideas in real-life scenarios. In a living laboratory the interaction of each party involved in it is important. Living labs explore real-life environments with the participation of the user. Ideally they should combine both a ‘user centred research’ and ‘open innovation’ in order to enable a positive feedback into the experiment. There are several different models of living labs: From Utiliser-driven, Enabler-driven, Provider-driven, to User-driven models.
The way we live, or better how we inhabit space is not a fixed set of rules. Although most people follow paths set out before them by traditions, by education, by social actions and functions etc. often these processes are not subjected to critical analysis and empirical investigation. They are merely accepted as the way to go about your life. People are far more accepting when buying a modern car with all they necessary gadgets and latest developments in materials, efficiency and style than changing the way they life or engage with the space they occupy. It is very rare that buildings/inhabited structures are build as an experiment. The users are much more risk adverse when it comes to brick and mortar.
The idea of the Architecture Living Laboratory is to provide a platform to explore different concepts of living in real-life experiments, installations and structures. Different ideas have to be road tested by the creator and they have to be interrogated by the user. The Architecture Living laboratory is an attempt to bring different approaches to living/inhabitation/dwellings into a research context. A series of projects and research initiatives will investigate/explore/challenge/demonstrate how spaces can be inhabited.
This is a research project collaborating with students at the Bartlett School of Architecture as part of the BSc Architecture Degree.