Interview with Prof. Dolaana Khovalyg
30 Swiss and Korean students, from the fields of architecture, civil engineering, IT, management and environmental sciences, participated in the first edition of the ARC-HEST program. They analyzed indoor comfort during a Summer School held in Seoul in August 2019, and a Winter School held in Fribourg in February 2020. EPFL Assistant Professor Dolaana Khovalyg, Head of the Thermal Engineering for the Built Environment Laboratory (TEBEL), tells us more about this ambitious program that has already produced strong links between the six partner universities.
What is the major focus of the ARC-HEST Swiss-Korean Academic Exchange?
The overall focus of the program is the study of the synergy between architectural design, human factors, and technologies in office buildings. It also examines their combined effect on indoor environmental quality and human-building interaction in a local context – both cultural and architectural. The very first edition of the program focused on coworking spaces that are increasingly popular, especially among startups and freelancers.
What is innovative about the ARC-HEST Swiss-Korean Academic Exchange?
Both the educators and students involved in this initial edition of the program had very diverse backgrounds - both multidisciplinary and multicultural. The students therefore benefited from a holistic approach to analyzing office spaces. As a result, the recommended solutions to improve multidimensional comfort and human-building interactions in coworking spaces were innovative and bold.
What do you think are the most significant accomplishments of this program?
The program strengthens scientific and educational cooperation between Switzerland and South Korea. During the Summer School, we were welcomed at the Swiss Embassy in Korea, and during the Winter School, we were welcomed at the Residence of the Republic of Korea in Switzerland. During both visits, the Ambassadors highlighted the significance of the program.
What has been the impact of this program?
Without a doubt, the program has had a great impact on the students and professors involved. Students had a chance to travel, make new friends, work in a multicultural environment, learn how to perform actual measurements in buildings, and gain experience in working in teams. For some students, it was their very first opportunity to travel abroad. At the beginning, the program was challenging for the organizers and professors since we needed to work in a large, international and multidisciplinary team. Overall, the program has been a great success to-date and we have built strong links between six universities that can lead to future collaborations.
With the support of the Science and Technology Office Seoul, the Smart Living Lab and its three partner institutions (EPFL, School of Architecture and Engineering of Fribourg, and the University of Fribourg), have launched the ARC-HEST (Architecture for human environment with smart technologies) Academic Exchange Program between Switzerland and South Korea. Together with the SungKyunKwan, EWHA, and Hanyang Universities from South Korea, this exchange program focuses on the issue of sustainability and comfort of the built environment.