Another brick in the wall Feb 22, 2019
De heer Ermal KAPEDANI
There is a saying in Belgium that goes like this ‘Belgians are born with a brick in their stomach’, which basically means that we are in love with the idea of creating and improving our own little comfortable space on this planet in which we live. Yet what does comfort mean? How do you combine it with sustainability? And how can you translate your specific wishes to a professional? To help out renovators and professional during the process of renovation, Canadian architect drs. Ermal Kapedani developed the “Comfort Tool” during his Ph.D. at UHasselt.
THE MEANING OF COMFORT
“Even the simplest tools can empower people to do great things.” – Biz Stone.
Living comfortably holds a different meaning to everyone. It is an interaction of various aspects such as the presence of light, easy maintenance, accessibility, aesthetics, … and everyone has their own priorities. “My definition, as well as perception of comfort, might differ fundamentally from that of my neighbor. But if you think more deeply about these comfort requirements than the obvious, visible parameters, then the sustainability topics of energy efficiency and lifelong living always play a role”, drs. Ermal explains.
People never have just one reason to start renovating their home, yet rarely are they aware of all their expectations. As a result, they often arrive at the architect’s office with just a general idea, that they’ve seen in a magazine or a friend’s home, making it difficult for the architect to determine exactly what the true needs of his clients are. “With the Comfort Tool both parties can have a more structured and in-depth discussion as it provides the renovators with a clear and broad frame of reference. As a result, renovators will make much more conscious choices in their renovation project and they will also be able to clearly communicate those wishes to the architect.”
TWO BIRDS ONE STONE
“It doesn’t only benefit the renovators but also the architects as they can now make decisions more easily. For example, increasing the influx of light in a room might decrease the energy efficiency or adding esthetically pleasing stairs might lower the accessibility. The more insight the architect has in his clients, the closer his design will match their expectations. This tool gives the architect an objective checklist against which he can weigh his choices and justify them to the client."
“You can look at the Comfort Tool as a compass to guide both parties throughout the renovation process. And even after the renovation is done, you can use the tool as an evaluation instrument”, drs. Ermal elaborates. “You can map precisely how the comfort level has evolved for the resident."
“A huge amount of research hides behind this Comfort Tool, which, at first glance, looks really simple. The development process proved to be rather intensive due to the fact that the different stakeholders in the renovation process were continuously involved. Yet we are very happy with the end result. If we can encourage people to think more deeply about their renovation then we will have achieved our goals."
Want to test out the Comfort Tool yourself? Then go visit www.comforttool.be