A liveable smart home of the future
Let’s rewind and set the scene. The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) campus on the Red Sea has about 3500 houses and apartments for its students and faculty. KAUST is known for being a graduate-level research university with a strong focus on interdisciplinary and collaborative research, located in a unique coastal environment in Saudi Arabia.
Due to the campus’ location, many aspects of the houses that were built weren’t suitable for the heat in the desert. Plants in the gardens were dying; there wasn’t enough shade to sit outside; blinds on the windows needed to be closed the whole day to keep the air inside cool, which led to poor air quality indoors. The KAUST Smart team set out to convert an ordinary home into a “smart” living space. The goal was to test features and ideas in the Smart Home of the Future to see if they are suitable for implementation on a larger scale.
Working with Treehouse Innovation and the KAUST Smart team, we used a human-centred design approach to ensure the design wasn’t tech- or gadget-driven.
Together, we started the journey of designing a state-of-the-art, sustainable home based on actual wants, needs and ideas from the campus residents.