Participatory Design and Build

Bachelor’s level
7.5 credits (ECTS)
Study pace
Study form
Application open
Application code
Full education cost: 35 625 SEK
First payment: 35 625 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

More information about tuition fees

Application closed


The course is aimed at architecture, landscape architecture and design students, and is a collaboration between HDK-Valand Campus Steneby and an external partner.
The objective is to design and construct a small unit of outdoor space together with the members of a rural community. Through the process, the students will get to understand the process of community participatory design and build.


In this course students are asked to consider design through the application of construction and adapt their designs based on actual experience and scale.

The philosophy of the course is that the act of design is not complete without the act of construction and that through their involvement in both design and construction, students develop a balance between the conceptualising and the making of their design.

They gain an understanding of the design process as circular, from idea, to construction and back to idea. In this process, the ideas, hands, tools and materials come together — design opportunities are discovered and explored.

The process of creation and development is done through participatory design with the members of local community, which means that all included parties have their members in all steps of the design process; from the very first program formulation, through comments provided upon designs presented by students.

Teaching takes place at joint introductions, seminars and lectures, tutorials individually and in groups.

Students will need to keep a project diary and give public presentations. The teaching includes field work with skills training in various manual / motor tools. 

This design-build program will take place on the archipelago of Traena, Norway in the village of Husoya is located off the Helgeland coast within the arctic circle. This area is blessed with the midnight sun from late May to mid July and has a population of just under 500. A local saying is that "everything here is centrally located", which makes sense since the island is scarcely 3 km long and 1 km across. Even on foot you can get to anywhere you need or want in less than half an hour.

As a result few people bother driving, and the road is used mostly by pedestrians. As a place, and for hundreds of years Traena was defined by a small boat fishing industry. This is now changing as the fishing fleet is being reduced and new sustainable economic avenues are being reinvented, with tourism being the focus.

Within this course, we will develop different amenities at the beach and harbour area in the centre of the village. The participatory process involving local children was already started by the municipality, and we will develop it further in order to design and build the beach area to allow for various kinds of social gatherings, for different age groups. We will work in close collaboration with the local people.

Towards the end of the course, we will take field trips to destinations within Norway and participate in the Traena music festival that takes place in July.

In addition to the studio project we participate in a field sketching class and in the local community events and activities.

Course meetings

The course involves full-time studies. The course is carried out as field studies and involves additional costs for the student in the form of travel, transport and accommodations.

The dates of the course are June 15 - July 15 2023 (it might change slightly)

Apply in three steps

  1. Apply for the course at Deadline March 15, 2023.
  2. Submit your portfolio in SlideRoom. Deadline March 22, 2023.
  3. Submit documentation proving you meet the entry requirements of the course on Deadline March 30, 2023.

Your application must be anonymous. Please do not include your name or any personal information in your applicaiton. 

Prerequisites and selection


Entry requires at least 60 credits in Design, Architecture or similar.


Submit a portfolio with 3-5 work samples related to the field of design and architecture.

A brief description of any previous experiences you might have from fields related to participatory design and build: examples might be collaborative projects, community based volunteering work and similar.

Letter of motivation, briefly describe your reasons for having interest in participatory design and build, and in what way you see yourself benefiting from taking part in the course.


The selection is based on submitted work samples.