ABOUT the Platform

Welcome to the european designbuildXchange platform

The DesignBuild projects featured here connect professional education with practice, scientific research and social engagement. This open access platform provides tools for communication, collaboration and the exchange of knowledge offered by its members. We welcome professionals, students, teachers, organisations, clients and donors to participate


The network stimulates scientific, sustainable, practice related and interdisciplinary knowledge transfer, fosters multinational cooperation and promotes research related to DesignBuild activities. It engages in discussions about the restrictions, challenges, difficulties and pitfalls of DesignBuild initiatives.


It promotes the DesignBuild teaching method and provides information and tools to ease project implementation. This raises the profile of DesignBuild-Studios and enhances the efficiency and quality of project implementation.


The network aims to become a lively and growing association, representing DesignBuild initiatives at Institutes of Higher Education and providing a corporate identity towards national and international institutions. It also forms a strong collaboration partner for the North-American based Design Build Exchange Network (dbX).

The research consortium EDBKN is responsible for the development of the DesignBuildXchange web-platform and network

stakeholders and AUDIENCE

Get involved!

The dbXchange network welcomes all individuals and organisations who share our vision, values and aims to join us as members: teachers in academic and non-academic education, students, researchers, planners, employers, clients and users, politicians, entrepreneurs, donors, craftsmen and sympathisers.


The network…

…addresses professionals and students in the fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Sociology, Civil Engineering, Arts and Design, the Construction-Industry and other interested parties.


…serves local clients and users such as: Municipalities, local NGOs, cooperatives, parish communities, educational facilities and schools, health organisations and families.


…acts as an exchange and acquisition platform for project supporters such as: international NGOs, development agencies and organisations, humanitarian associations, foundations, individuals, the construction industry, business and international academic exchange services..

The DesignBuildXchange platform welcomes all individuals and organisations interested in the DesignBuild methodology


Our mission is to get people actively involved in building a better World, whilst improving educational practice.

We, the initiators and members of this platform, are highly convinced of the DesignBuild methodology as a teaching and research model where students undertake building projects from design to construction. We believe that through taking the students out of the bounds of their desks and of their socio-cultural backgrounds into the physical world of construction, DesignBuild- Studios offer them the chance to experience some of the greatest challenges of creating and realising built environments:


  • to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations between Architects, Landscape Architects, Construction Engineers, Sociologists and other disciplines.
  • to get involved in construction and production, cooperating with experts, craftsmen and the building industry.
  • to discuss the requirements and potentials of the clients and users.
  • to tackle building regulations and resource restrictions.
  • to participate in innovation and experimentation.
  • to build ingenious, sustainable, environmentally responsible and economically efficient structures.
  • to confront issues of cultural acceptance, aesthetics, appropriateness and social engagement, increasing students’ awareness of the economic, social and cultural implications of creating built environments not only in their own country.


In addition to the gains related to the physical project, there is a substantial and sustainable effect for each and every participant through the gain of scientific, professional and social expertise. This is triggered and intensified by the close living conditions and working collaboration of students, teachers, clients, experts and other stakeholders from the various countries and cultures.


The overall effect is the education of highly aware decision-makers who are conscious about the urgent need to take responsibility in actively constructing balanced social, cultural and ecological living environments.

Our mission is to get people actively involved!


The web-platform offers helpful tools for collaboration and knowledge exchange:


Here you can display and browse DesignBuild Projects that are assigned to categories.


All related project information can be shared as process and product e.g. photos, films, design and construction plans, methodology papers, documentations and research results.


The project Categories and Tags aid the search for content.


Project Evaluation:

All projects related to “social engagement” or “public interest design” can apply for an evaluation by our partner- network SEED through the "SEED evaluator".



We invite non- academics as well as academics to become members of the network.

Post your member profile in order to offer and/or search for cooperation partners, project assistance and funding, to share knowledge and contacts, and to discuss challenges. As a member you can upload DesignBuild projects and register your organisation. You can also upload DesignBuild related research papers, design and construction plans, bibliographic references, and other material. Members can also take part in discussions in the thematic forum.



We encourage the members to post the organisations they are related within their network. This will help to initiate projects and get access to reliable partners.

Organisations can be DesignBuild-Studios and Institutions of Higher Education, research entities, collaborating interdisciplinary Institutes and professional associations, local professional partners, clients and users organisations, Funding Organisations and others supporting the DesignBuild- initiative.


Contribute and share information


News and Events:

You can send us suggestions for DesignBuild news and events together with photos and/or flyers via email to share on this platform. The proposals will be assessed before publication.



We welcome everyone to browse our DesignBuild library where network members can post information for direct download or as bibliographic information. The library database contains research papers, books, articles and project documentations, as well as plans, videos and other useful material. Please note our General Terms and Conditions and related Creative Commons licenses.


Notice: The library is currently under construction!


Discussion Forum:

We offer thematic forums for exchanging information on current issues and looking for quick solutions. Project forums are available to discuss and facilitate on-going DesignBuild project processes. Users with a basic registration are able to read and post comments on threads in the forum. Fully registered members can additionally generate new forum topics. The author of the thread should control the validity and quality of the posts. Contributions containing offensive and/or discriminatory content will be deleted immediately.


Notice: The discussion forum is currently under construction!



We offer a full-text search that searches the complete content of the website including text documents.


The guided search will support you in discovering the right information according to predefined classification criteria.


Networking Tool:

This is an online notice board where you can OFFER SERVICES or SEEK SUPPORT for DesignBuild activities. You can search for or offer collaboration opportunities, knowledge, expertise or project funding. Users can seek support from craftsmen, teachers, researchers, students, clients, related organisations and others.


  • DesignBuild Studios can, for instance, seek clients or NGOs with project requests, students to join the project team, other DesignBuild Studios for participation, or local experts to support project implementation.
  • As a client-organisations or NGO you can seek the assistance of DesignBuild Studios, search or offer project funding, or find expert knowledge.
  • Members of the building industry can offer, for example, collaboration in design or research projects, specific expertise or project funding.


Notice: The networking tool is currently under construction!


DesignBuild Projects are components of higher education in the field of built environment that allow students to be physically involved in the materialisation of their designs.

DesignBuild Projects must:

  • be based in higher education
  • have a brief, budget and timeframe
  • be built
  • have students involved in the design AND construction of the project
  • be of architectural, social, cultural, scientific, technical or artistic relevance


The DesignBuild-Studio is a teaching and research model offering students the unique opportunity to experience the different stages of a small, but real building project: from the initial design sketch to the development of models and detailed drawings, all the way through the actual construction process to completion of the built result.


Apart from hands-on building experience the students also learn how to deal with the budget, schedule and unexpected obstacles, as well as to work in collaboration with others and communicate with real clients, local authorities and material suppliers.

It is based on a specific building task and is carried out in an academic environment, engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration between Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Sociology and other related fields.


The immediate goal of the design-build-studio is not only to build structures, but rather to give students the possibility to evaluate the quality of their thinking against the constraints of the real world and to understand the implications of their decisions in a broader context.


In North-America DesignBuild-Studios have a long tradition, they address cultural and social challenges and tackle new experimental and technical solutions, involving the building industry and local craftsmanship.


In Europe there is a significant trend towards the DesignBuild-Studio model, increasingly seeking cooperation with partners in developing and emerging countries. In many of these European DesignBuild programmes “Low-Cost“, “High Efficiency“ and sustainability considerations intertwine with cultural acceptance issues, aesthetics, appropriateness, participation and education. The focus is placed on “Architecture of Social Engagement“ with a double goal: to provide social support, and, besides the enormous gains in professional knowledge, to make students more sensitive to the social and cultural responsibility implications of their work.


However, despite the fact that DesignBuild-Studios show an exemplary way to combine the synergistic potentials of teaching, research, practice, and social engagement, they remain a young and changing field that is far from being exhausted.


This platform aims to support DesignBuild-Studios and their network partners in all project phases throughout all regions of the world.


The dbXchange Platform is a tool developed by the European DesignBuild Knowledge Network (EDBKN), a consortium of five academic partners, all dedicated to the challenge of bringing real building tasks to the academic world. The EDBKN promotes the implementation, distribution, and sustainability of the DesignBuild methodology.


The EDBKN is a research project conducted by CoCoon and the Habitat Unit at the Technische Universität Berlin (Germany) in cooperation with the Vienna University of Technology (Austria), Associazione Archintorno (Italy), the German University Cairo (Egypt) and Dalhousie University (Canada). The EDBKN aims to increase the attractiveness of European Institutes of Higher Education towards third countries and is operating globally.



CoCoon – sector for contextual construction 

Ursula Hartig, Architect

Nina Pawlicki, Architect

Simon Colwill, Landscape Architect


Habitat Unit – Chair of International Urbanism and Design
Philipp Misselwitz, Architect, Urban Researcher, Chair of Habitat Unit


Further Team Members:

Florian Traeger, IT-Student

Sascha Paukner, Student of Landscape Architecture


Department of Architecture, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany



Members of the consortium:

Design Build Studio 

Peter Fattinger, Architect


Further Team Members: Laura Lipensky, Student of Architecture

Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Austria


Coastal Studio 

Ted Cavanagh

Dalhousie University School of Architecture, Canada


Associazione Archintorno, Non-Profit Association, Italy

Roberta Nicchia, Architect, Urban Planner

Alessandra Basile, Architect

Andrea Tulisi, Architect

Guilana Sandulli, Architect


DesignBuild Studio GUC

Cornelia Redeker, Architect, Urban Planner



Barbara Pampe , Architect

Vittoria Capresi, Architect, Historian

German University Cairo (GUC), Egypt


Further Team Members:

Carla Schwarz, Architect

Leonie Weber, Architect



Advisory Board


Head of Advisory Board:

Sergio Palleroni

BaSiC Initiative, SEED Network

Portland State University, USA


Advisory Board Members:


  • Prof. Dominique Gauzin-Müller, Architect and chief editor of the "EclogiK" magazin
  • Dipl.-Ing. Alexandra Linden, Urban Development Advisor at GIZ; German
  • Nina Nedelykov, Architect, Bundesarchitektenkammer
  • Prof. Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Klaus Teschner, Urban development coordinator at Misereor
  • ZRS Architekten Ingenieure, Prof. Dr. Christof Ziegert, Dipl.-Ing Eike Roswag, Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Seiler


The concept of the designbuildXchange platform was devised in close collaboration with the North American dbX network, a part of the larger Thinking While Doing initiative and is related to the live projects network , UK and the SEED Network, USA.

The designbuildXchange platform has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for International and Intercultural Communication (ZiiK) at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the TU Berlin under the supervision of Dr. Nazir Peroz. The implementation was realized by the following computer science students: Sebastian Peuser, Daniel Staegemann, Denis Lobo, Burak Cetinkaya, Emo Leumassi, Wei Yang, Jörg Sablottny and Florian Träger.

The webpage is hosted at the TuBit TU Berlin.

Further collaboration partners:

  • Martin Adam (Webdesign)
  • Birgit Weber (Content Management)
  • Sascha Paukner (CSS)
  • Florian Träger (programming of the current version)
  • TOMCOM - Büro für Konzeption und Gestaltung (webdesign of the current version)


The designbuildXchange platform is funded by the Erasmus Mundus Programme of the European Union from 2013 to 2016. This is supported by the engagement of our consortium partners.

Funded by the European Union


Technische Universität Berlin

School VI Planning Building Environment

Department of Architecture, Sek. A 4

CoCoon_sector for contextual construction

Habitat Unit - Chair of International Urbanism and Design

Strasse des 17. Juni 152

10623 Berlin


Tel.: + 49 (0) 30 314 29647