ARC-HEST participants
ARC-HEST participants

Towards collective Cities: Swiss-Korean cooperation for sustainable co-working spaces

Attention to human comfort and performance in the indoor built environment is growing worldwide due to the increased number of hours spent indoors and the space limitation in highly populated cities. It is well known that South Korea, particularly Seoul, has an extremely dense population and high amount of office employees working extensive hours. Oppositely, Switzerland is a country with a lower population, and it pays significant attention to the balance between professional and personal life.

Switzerland and South Korea share strong traditions, wide use of advanced technologies and a direction towards a sustainable society. This paved the way to the collaborative program:

ARC-HEST (Architecture for Human Environment with Smart Technologies).

Swiss and Korean academicians and students in the field of sustainable architecture aimed to comprehensively study the working environment in each country in conjunction with the local culture and architecture.

ARC-HEST students at work

The joint pedagogical program, partly financed by an Opportunity Grant awarded to the Smart Living Lab of the EPFL in the context of the bilateral programmes, was launched in the framework of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. It consisted of the two-week long Summer School 2019 in South Korea and the Winter School 2020 in Switzerland with lectures, workshops and studios. Students made 3 case study building visits and analyzed the building design, operation, occupants’ satisfaction and more.

The Exchange Schools focused on the synergy of architectural design, human factors, and technologies in the office buildings, their combined effect on the indoor environmental quality and interaction of the occupants with the building. Based on the findings, students developed innovative solutions for the improvement of the built indoor environment, optimizing the human-building interaction and indoor comfort in the context of the diverse occupants and architectural design across Switzerland and South Korea.

ARC-HEST was one of the most concrete outcomes of STO Seoul efforts in enhancing bilateral cooperation for sustainability in 2019. Through this educational program, new bilateral connections and people exchanges have been facilitated, paving the way to joint research cooperation in the field of sustainable human built environment. In an effort to encourage continuation in this cooperative program, STO Seoul leads the discussion with the participating institutions and academicians, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak. Highlighting the worldwide rise of home office and the forced increase of telecommuting, changes in spatial “office” structures are inevitable. Studying the new distribution of spaces and adjustments to ‘new normal’ working environments, STO Seoul and involved institutions now seek new developments in the program in the post-pandemic world.

Prize-winners of ARC-HEST

*Swiss institutions: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Haute école d’ingénierie et d’architecture de Fribourg, and University of Fribourg under the Smart Living Lab umbrella. Korean institutions: EWHA Womans University, Hanyang University, and SungKyunKwan University

*The program was jointly supported by SBFI and Ministry of Science and ICT, Embassy of Switzerland to the Republic of Korea and Embassy of Republic of Korea to the Swiss Confederation, Geberit, Sensirion.