Master's thesis directions



Master's thesis topics


Accessibility to Toilets Joyland School (Kisumu, Kenya)   

Background: 
Currently most schools and communities in Kisumu, Kenya use pit latrines and Asian-type toilets. This typology of toilet does not allow or provide functionality to persons with physical disability. Bathrooms and laundries are designed to only accommodate non-disabled people. The Joyland school in Kisumu, Kenya interested to work in a participatory process to develop a more functional toilet and access for their disabled students which can then hopefully also be implemented in their homes. This Project has been initiated together with Zingira Community Craft organization.   
 
Initial research and project questions: 
- What toilet or system design could meet the needs of the community and school? 
- What ethical and contextual factors should be considered when designing within a participatory process that include participants with disabilities, and how does this influence the design and building process?  
- What type of local materials can be used within low skill self-build process?  
- What influences does the use of local and recycled materials have within a community building process that makes use of unskilled community members?     
 
Possible research and design methods: 
- Literature reviews 
- Interviews and surveys with stakeholders 
- Field Studies 
- Participatory action research 
- CoDesign with stakeholders 
- Prototyping 
- Co-building process with community    
 
Possible thesis outputs: 
- Design, construction details and prototypes for building toilets/bathrooms/laundries for people with disabilities.  
- Guidelines for a participatory design process that includes people with disabilities 
- Guidelines for building for people with disabilities/ local/recycled materials/ unskilled labour   
 
Stakeholders: 
Zingira Community Craft (Evance Odhiambo) 
Joyland School 
Local builders and tradesman 
Community members     
 
CONTACT: Shea Hagy, shea.hagy@chalmers.se  

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Conversations In The Desert   

Background:
Rewilding is the concept of restoring an area to its original, uncultivated state and often also incorporates new elements of architectural or landscape design. The concept of rewilding is often focused on polluted or urban spaces but how can we rewild spaces when we as designers have not yet reconnected with nature and the earth ourselves? Perhaps we must first rewild ourselves?  

The desert is an extreme environment that has the potential to inspire and help us as designers understand more about nature and ourselves and our impact on the environment. In the high desert of west Texas the 403 acre Soaring Hawk Ranch is located approximately 26 miles south of Marathon Texas and 20 miles north from the boundary of Big Bend National Park. Soaring Hawk Ranch consists of 4 vintage trailers serviced by full electricity, water, wastewater and gas, additional bathhouse with toilets, showers and tub, laundry facilities and a 1000 s.f. covered pavilion.   There is a 200 sqft tent with wood floor for addition meeting or sleeping space.  The ranch includes a large stone-lined Labyrinth and hiking within 1000 acres of high desert terrain.  

Laura Toups is the owner and director of Soaring Hawk Ranch.  Calling upon her 37 years as a civil engineer and urban planner along with world travel to remote indigenous locations she has planned and built SRH to serve as a place to connect to the landscape and dark night skies.  The quiet calm of this remote desert environment can help one to open up to new possibilities as to our place as humans on this complex living planet.                 
 
Initial research and project questions: 
- What does the intersection of nature/local cultures/design look like? 
- How can the desert landscapes be modified/supported to provide shelter for the ‘travelers’ (illegal immigrants) who pass the territory? 
- What can you learn from the desert environment to bring an activist perspective to your design practice and how does this manifest itself?   
 
Possible research and design methods: 
- literature reviews 
- Interviews and surveys with local stakeholders 
- Field Studies 
- Prototyping    
 
Possible thesis outputs: 
- design and develop a manual/handbook on how to rewild the architect 
- design and develop shelters for ‘travellers’ 
- design and develop a meditation dome 
- design and develop communal/community housing   
 
Stakeholders: 
Larry Toups 
Laura Toups   
 
Associated Links/info:   
Marathon Texas (20 min drive from SHR) 
https://www.marathontexas.com   
Big Bend National Park (20 min drive from SHR) 
https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm   
Big Bend Ranch State Park (2 hour drive from SHR) 
https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big-bend-ranch   
Marfa Texas  (1.5 hour drive from SHR) 
https://visitmarfa.com/visit  City of Marfa 
https://elcosmico.com    El Cosmico
hotel/campground 
https://chinati.org  Chinati Foundation created by Donald Judd   
 
Alpine Texas (1 hour drive from SHR) 
https://www.sulross.edu  Sul Ross University 
https://library.sulross.edu/archives/  Archives of the Big Bend   
 
Fort Davis (1.5 hour drive from SHR) 
https://mcdonaldobservatory.org  University of Texas Mcdonald Observatory   
 
Presidio Texas (2.5 hour drive from SHR - closest Texas town with border crossing into Mexico)  https://presidiotx.us   
 
Jack Sanders worked and built in west texas (Design Studio graduate)  My backyard fence and shelters at SHR are in his work examples... 
https://designbuildadventure.com       
 
CONTACT: Shea Hagy, shea.hagy@chalmers.se     
 
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Contact with nature, housing in wood, clt, architectural qualities, detailed design​

Contact: Kaj Granath, kaj.granath@chalmers.se 

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Development of a new Innovation and Incubation Hub in Rwanda

Possibility to contribute to a new University Innovation Hub in Rwanda:
ØWe are looking for Chalmers students who would like to carry out their Master thesis in spring 2023 in our project in Rwanda
ØWe want students interested in Sustainability and green buildings, in the areas of design, energy building technology and water system engineering
ØThe Hub design will be developed in teams with Rwandese students and applying an international Green building code
ØThis includes state-of-the-art practices in sustainable building design, aiming at carbon neutrality and climate adaptation with respect to water, energy, materials, green spaces and healthy environments for people and other species.

Phase II: Innovation Hub and green spaces
• The work is planned to start in January 2023, and is lead by students and their supervisors from the School of Architecture at UR, working in teams with students and supervisors from Chalmers.
• An international expert team from the Global Green Growth Institute provides expert advice.
• The students will implement the Rwanda Green Building Code, with 5 modules.
• The work involves the design of a new building and green area in a cluster with the African center of excellence in energy for sustainable Development (ACEESD)
• Students from Chalmers will be guests at the center and the School of Architecture in Kigali during their visits
• There is a possiblity to apply for a scholarship from Sida (Minor Field Study), or Chalmers Global Mentorship programme.
• Connection points and green spaces connect the two buildings and the surrounding area
• The main stakeholders are the Unviersity leadership, the UNDP, the Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Education, as well as the Swedish Embassy in Rwanda.

DESIGN CONCEPT
developed by Chalmers Master Student Pattaraporn Thumjunjua in 2020. Our students took the first steps in developing the new design concept in 2020. We are now in the next phase of planning and implementation.

Contact:
Catarina Östlund, ACE, Chalmers. catarina.ostlund@chalmers.se
Helene Ahlborg, Associate Professor, TME, Chalmers. helene.ahlborg@chalmers.se

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Dignity + Waste

   
Background:
In Kenya, there has been a huge behavior change in the use of feminine sanitary pads and diapers. Many households find these two products a massive lifestyle improvement in terms of usability and functionality compared to what was used before. For sanitary pads, in the past, many used old clothes (to those who could afford) while others used other ‘funny’ materials like leaves, dry soil, etc. For diapers many didn’t care about covering their children, but again, for those who could afford used cloth napkins which were reused after wash. Disposable pads have replaced all other primitive materials making menses a dignified social occurrence. And now women can walk around with their babies knowing that they are protected by diapers. The downside of these products is what happens upon disposal. Currently, these products end up in a pit-latrines or dump site. In turn, during rainy season they are easily washed away and often end up in the rivers, streams, and lakes. Blocking and contaminating water ways. Pad and diaper manufacturing companies are never going to stop producing and consumers of the same products will never stop using these types of products just because of disposal problem. How can women and children be able to have the function and dignity that comes with such products while at the same time minimize the negative impacts that come with disposal?     

Initial research and project questions: 
- How can pit latrines / toilet facilities be designed to allow for better disposal of sanitary products to not cause negative environmental impacts? 
- What type of sanitary disposal processes can be designed for communities like those found in Kisumu?   
- What environmental, ethical, and contextual factors do designers need to consider when working with this problem, and how to these manifests themselves in the design and the building process? 
- Can a combustible system be developed and designed to safely combust sanitary products, and possibly generate heat or a by-product?   

Possible research and design methods:
- Literature reviews 
- Participatory design process 
- Interviews and surveys with stakeholders 
- Field Studies 
- Prototyping  
- Field/Process/System mapping   

Possible thesis outputs: 
- Construction details and prototypes 
- Guidelines for designing for the safe disposal of sanitary products 
- Process guidelines for the disposal process of sanitary products 
- Guidelines for sanitary disposal integration into the wider waste management system   

Stakeholders: 
Zingira community Craft (Evance Odhiambo)     

CONTACT: Shea Hagy, shea.hagy@chalmers.se   


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Earth Architecture: Design and Materials Development from Waste Clay in A Swedish Context​​

The ReCirculate project was initiated to develop new techniques to build our cities. The building materials we use today have a large environmental impact and contribute to climate change both in Sweden and around the world. In order to reduce these negative impacts, we must minimize the extraction of new material and promote materials that already exist and/or have a low embodied energy. In order to access these embedded assets, we must utilize materials already existing in the urban built environment. ReCirculate is a research project that aims to explore innovative ways of using existing materials, by reusing materials and products from demolition and rebuilding projects and by developing new products with "waste clay" as a raw material. New construction products will be explored and developed within the project aiming to be used in the construction of Gothenburg City's "fossil-free" preschools and in several other future construction projects. The City’s preschool project will be used as a living lab to see how earth architecture can be implemented in a Swedish context. 

Current partners: White Architects, Wingårhds, Bengt-Dahlgren AB, earthLAB studio, Gothenburg City (lokalförvaltningen)
Contact: Shea Hagy, hagy@chalmers.se

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Gambia Earth School   

 
Background:
In 2014, Eivor Björkman organized Gambia Aid (EBG-Aid) a study trip to Gambia.  During the trip, a school in the village was visited, among other things Ghana Town, which is a poor fishing community. The school in Ghana Town - which receives many of the poorest children in the area - was started 2011 in simple sheds that weren't really adapted for school activities. There was neither school yard, dining room or teacher's room and the sheds were very worn from termite infestation, strong sun and floods. Since spring 2018, EBG-Aid has been running a project to build a new school. Funding was secured and a piece of land was purchased for location of the new school. The association is now in contact with the architect office Detail Group, which undertook the task of designing the building concept for the school, which will be of rammed earth. As a result of the pandemic the project got put on hold during the period of March 2020 - Jan 2022. The project is now awaiting further funding. Budget investigations have initially been carried out for casting of the school's intended concrete foundation. The total cost of the school building is estimated to be approx 2,000,000 kr.   
 
Initial research and project questions: 
- What possible advantages/challenges are there when building a school in Gambia with rammed earth? 
- How can local builders and artisans be brought into the project and what exchange of skills are possible? 
- What environmental, ethical, and contextual factors do designers need to consider when working in such a context and how to these manifests themselves in the design and the building process? 
- What are the consequences and/or effects of aid projects on local community?   
 
Possible research and design methods: 
- literature reviews 
- Interviews and surveys with stakeholders 
- Field Studies 
- Prototyping    
 
Possible thesis outputs: 
- Network mapping and communication tools for executing a mutli-stakeholder project in a foreign context 
- Guideline for earth building in the local context 
- Construction details and prototypes for the school building     

Stakeholders:     
More details on stakeholders will be provided later      

CONTACT: Shea Hagy, shea.hagy@chalmers.se   

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Think outside the trash… Waste Management Systems (Kisumu, Kenya)


Background: 
The waste management system in Kisumu is currently very decentralized and not designed for waste separation. The main solid waste streams are coming from households, markets and schools and include various non-organic and organic waste material. Waste collection at the household and school levels often consists of sacks, plastic bags, and metal or plastic pales, where the waste is collected by small private companies for a fee or burned. In markets, huge metal containers are placed at central collecting Points (designed to collect all waste without separation) and is most often collected by the county government and taken to a dump site.   

Initial research and project questions: 
- How can waste be included within building process?   
- What type of waste can be utilized within construction? 
- How can waste be utilized to improve informal dwellings?  
- How can the safe combusting of waste be utilized within space heating, water heating or cooking processes?  
- How can local builders and artisans be included within the waste management system?  
- What possible advantages/challenges are there when using waste within building processes? 
- Can localised waste separation centers be developed to become key community spaces that improve communities? 
- How can the safe burning of waste for biogas be highly localised within communities or families?     

Possible research and design methods: 
- Literature reviews 
- Interviews and surveys with stakeholders 
- Field Studies 
- Prototyping    

Possible thesis outputs: 
- Guideline for building with waste materials 
- Construction details and prototypes for waste systems     

Stakeholders:   
Zingira Community Craft (Evance Odhiambo)     

CONTACT: Shea Hagy, shea.hagy@chalmers.se   

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Write your thesis in The( )Space!​


Contact for 'fika talk' Per Östling / The( )Space by First To Know, 070-731 09 88 , per@thespace.se​

Page manager Published: Wed 26 Oct 2022.