​​DI-LAB engages architecture and engineering students and faculty in researching, designing and implementing community-based projects in Lebanon and the region. DI-Lab aims to develop design strategies for emergency projects related to post-conflict in disaster areas including the damage of vital architectural heritage sites. The lab also intends to engage in environmental issues such as marine life protection and renewable energy. It provides design and engineering services intending to improve the living conditions of marginalized communities. It aims for a participatory process that engages the beneficiaries and users in order to incubate sustainable development.

DI-LAB thus adopts an action oriented research approach within the framework of a professional set-up in the fields of architecture and engineering. Participants developed hands on skills and experience; they learned how their proposals make a significant impact on the ground. DI-LAB acts as a catalyst for the development process.

The experimental aspect of the laboratory is its strength, this allows for innovation and discoveries. Participants are also challenged to solve design issues taking into consideration various constraints such as budget, availability of materials, time constraints and sustainability. This allows the participants to gain a particular edge, which combines academia and practice that involves know-how of design strategies construction methods. The platform solicits projects, prepares the brief and secures the funding for implementation. The focus of the DI-Lab is on smart structural systems and climate responsive design strategies. The lab aims to build a platform that combines research and design innovation in a multidisciplinary fashion, this will enhance AUB’s mission towards excellence in education and engagement with the local community.

​Karim Najjar