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. 

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..

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.

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” are encouraged to 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.


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.


You can send us suggestions for the INSIGHT category so as publications, conference- documentations or post occupancy research of designbuild projects. Ask the board if you have any doubts. The proposals will be assesed before publication.


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.

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
  • have a client
  • 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 designbuild-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 that was developed within the framework of the European DesignBuild Knowledge Network research project from 2013 -2016, with the aim to promote the DesignBuild methodology. It was based at TU Berlin and supported by an international consortium.

From 2016 to 2017 the platform was administered by CoCoon-Studio.

Today, the dbXchange platform is managed by the non profit association dbXchange e.V., that promotes the implementation, distribution, and sustainability of the DesignBuild methodology.

The dbXchange e.V. is an association under German law, registered in Berlin, Germany. We encourage every individual to become a member of the dbXchange e.V.. 

If you are interested, please let us know: info@dbXchange.eu.

dbXchange e.V.

Co-founder: Ursula Hartig, (chairwoman), CoCoon-Studio; Bernadette Heiermann, (chairwoman) RWTH Aachen, design.develop.build; Nina Pawlicki, (chairwoman), TU Berlin, Natural Building Lab / CoCoon-Studio; Prof. Judith Reitz, Peter Behrens School of Architecture (treasurer); Prof. Dr. Simon Colwill, IU Berlin, BT-U, CoCoon-Studio; Prof. Dr. Peter Fattinger, Technische Universität Wien, design.build, Matthias Kestl, Technische Universität München, TUM, DesignBuild  

The EDBKN consortium (2013-2016)

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany: CoCoon Studio: Ursula Hartig, Architect; Nina Pawlicki, Architect; Simon Colwill, Landscape  Archictect  

Habitat Unit – Chair of International Urbanism and Design, TU Berlin: Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz,  Architect, Urban Researcher (principal invenstigator)

TU Wien – Vienna University of Technology, Austria design.build studio:  Prof. Dr. Peter Fattinger

Dalhousie University School of Architecture,   Coastal Studio,  Canada: Prof. Ted Cavanagh  

Associazione Archintorno, Non-Profit Association, Italy: Roberta Nicchia,  Architect, Urban Planner; Alessandra Basile,  Architect; Andrea Tulisi, Architect, Guilana Sandulli, Architect

University Cairo (GUC), Egypt DesignBuild Studio GUC: Prof. Dr. Cornelia Redeker,  Architect, Urban Planner; baladilab: Barbara Pampe, Architect; Dr. Vittoria Capresi,  Architect, Historian

The designbuildXchange platform was set up 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 designbuildXchange platform has been developed in cooperation with the North American Thinking While Doing Initiative, directed by Ted Cavanagh, Dallhousie University, Canada.

EDBKN advisory board
  • Head of advisory board: Prof. Sergio Palleroni, Portland State University,  USA, BaSiC Initiative  
  • Prof. Dominique Gauzin-Müller, Architect and chief editor of "EclogiK" magazine
  • Dipl.-Ing. Alexandra Linden, Urban Development Advisor at GIZ; German Society for International Cooperation
  • 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, Prof. Eike Roswag, Dipl.-Ing. Uwe SeilerFurther team members

Florian Traeger, IT-Student; Sascha Paukner, Student of Landscape Architecture; Carla Schwarz,  Architect; Leonie Weber, Architect; Laura Lipensky, Student of Architecture

Further collaboration partners

Martin Adam (web design); Birgit Weber (content management); Florian Träger (programming); Sascha Paukner (CSS); Ole von Stuckrad (programming); TOMCOM - Büro für Konzeption und Gestaltung (web design); Elfgenpick(programming)

The dbXchange platform forms part of the Design for the Common Good Network, a coalition of networks who are committed to design practice, education and research that improves social, economic and environmental outcomes for its users. It promotes local accountability and maintains a global perspective. Design for the Common Good connects designers, students, researchers, collaborators and end-users, sharing best practice, stimulating and sustaining dialogue. Co-network partners are the live projects network (UK), the SEED Network (USA), the PACRIM Pacific Rim Community Design Network

Sergio Palleroni  from Center for Public Interest Design, Portland State University is designated head of the directory board. DCGN was founded in 2017.

The webpage is hosted by https://secure.hosting.de/ in Germany.

The designbuildXchange platform was funded by the Erasmus Mundus Programme of the European Union from 2013 to 2016. 

Now it is supported by the volunteer engagement of the dbXchange e.V. board. The implementation of INSIGHT and the updating of the website was made possible by donations from the STO Foundation and from various designbuild initiatives at Peter Behrens School of Architecture, RWTH Aachen, TU Wien and TU Berlin.

dbXchange e.V.

Dr. Nina Pawlicki

c/o Technische Universität Berlin Sek. A44

Strasse des 17. Juni 152

10623 Berlin, Germany


Tel.: + 49 (0) 30 314 21886