Prof. Allen Sayegh gives Keynote at UW’s DUB Community Day!

Great news! Our own Professor Allen Sayegh was the keynote speaker at the University of Washington’s DUB Community Day for 2023-24. The event was hosted by the DUB partners, including the University of Washington Information School, University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering, UW – School of Art + Art History + Design, and University of Washington Human Centered Design & Engineering.

His talk “Bridging Realms: Architecture and HCI,” explored the dynamic interplay between architecture and HCI, unveiling the transformative power at the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. The talk sparked discussions and gave everyone some food for thought about where architecture and digital tech might go in the future.

Big thanks to the University of Washington for hosting & Allen for the wonderful keynote!

Thank You to All Participants of the Future of Mobility Workshop & Symposium!

We are thrilled to announce the success of the “Future of Mobility Workshop & Symposium,” a two-day event that brought together graduate students from the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University and the University of Bergamo (UNIBG) in Italy. The Symposium, which took place on April 13 and 14, was part of a multi-year academic collaboration research and teaching initiative to put the human being at the center of urban design and planning. This year’s theme focused on the relationship between the individual and the urban environment through the experience of Light Mobility. 

The two-day event was packed with insightful presentations and engaging discussions. We had the privilege of hosting Brad Weed, Carole Turley Voulgaris (GSD), and Bryan Boyer, who offered valuable insights into the ways in which technology, human behavior, and the built environment intersect. They helped us broaden our perspectives and understand the numerous connections between these elements. Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other, share their research, and exchange ideas on how to enhance the relationship between people and their surroundings. 

Thank you to all participants for making this year’s Symposium a success. Your enthusiasm, dedication, and contributions to the discussion were truly inspiring. 

We are excited to see what new insights and ideas will emerge from this year’s Symposium and look forward to the next event in this ongoing collaboration.

Thank you again to everyone who participated! And thanks to the REAL Lab team for making this happen: Allen Sayegh (PI), Stefano Andreani, Isa He, Indrajeet Haldar, Kenny Kim, Ibrahim Ibrahim, and Vivianna Urra!

*For questions, please contact Isa He ([email protected]).

Join Us at the Future of Mobility Workshop & Symposium!

The REAL Lab is hosting a Future of Mobility Workshop & Symposium! This two-day event is part of a  multi-tier, multi-year academic collaboration research and teaching initiative. Putting the human being at the center and forefront, this year, researchers at REAL and UniBG investigate how the experience of Light Mobility can enhance the relationship between the individual and the urban environment. Participants include faculty and researchers from both schools and graduate students in business, engineering, tourism, sustainability, architecture, and urban planning.

We invite you to join us for two days of insightful presentations and engaging discussions. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain new perspectives and insights into the future of urban design and planning.

Mark your calendar for the “Future of Mobility Workshop Symposium” on April 13 and 14. We can’t wait to see you there!

*For any inquiries or further information about the event schedule, please feel free to contact Isa He ([email protected]).

REAL team receives Research Innovation Award.

Research Innovation Award

During the SiGraDi 2022 Critical Appropriations Conference, a team of REAL researchers including Isa He, Humbi Song, Zach Seibold, Ibrahim Ibrahim, and PI Allen Sayegh received the SiGraDi Research Innovation Award for its innovative methods in quantifying the human experience in built environments.

The SiGraDi Research Innovation Award aims to recognize the research shortlisted for its highest score in the peer review process and that were selected by an evaluation committee led by the Chairs of the Scientific and Editorial Areas of SIGraDi.

Stay tuned for the full paper!

Join us at SiGraDi!

REAL Researchers, Isa He, Humbi Song, Zach Seibold, Ibrahim Ibrahim, and PI Allen Sayegh will bill be presenting at the XXVI SiGraDi Conference Critical Appropriations 2022.

Register here to join us at the Interdisciplinary Design and Codesign session (D2.S2.B) on Thursday Nov 10, 2022 at 13:00.

LDT Industry Advisors Meeting 2022

The Laboratory for Design Technologies (LDT) is a collaborative platform that brings together Harvard University’s research units with a select group of industry advisors to engage in forward-looking, speculative, and imaginative research. Discussions with industry advisors took place on June 2022, with REAL Lab members Allen Sayegh (PI), Humbi Song, and Isa He participating and presenting.

Research on biometric method for spatial experience accepted to ECADE 2022 Conference.

We are excited to have been selected to present our research, “A Biometric Method for Spatial Experience Analysis: A Case Study of Airport Design and Traveler Stress” at The European Conference on Arts, Design & Education 2022!

Join us if you can! 

A Biometric Method for Spatial Experience Analysis: A Case Study of Airport Design and Traveler Stress


Why do certain built environments and events induce stress? How does the design of our spatial environment affect our mental state? What can we do to measure and understand these interactions? Interdisciplinary collaborations between architecture and psychology have given rise to a new frontier of architectural research, and emerging biometric sensor technologies lead to innovative research methods that can provide a unique insight into human spatial experiences. This research uses the passenger experience of air travel as a case study for prototyping methods of quantifying and understanding individual spatial experience. The airport presents a potent case study environment; though significant energy has gone into engineering the passenger experience, the prevailing cultural perception of air travel remains tinged with unease and anxiety. The presented research outlines a methodology for quantitatively measuring the passenger experience of the airport design: equipping passengers with biometric electrodermal activity (EDA) sensors – a biomarker significantly correlated to emotional stress response, analyzing first-person video footage worn by participants to map contextual information, and conducting interviews to assess the participant’s perception of the air travel experience. A dashboard was then developed to facilitate visual cross- referencing and analysis of aspects of airport design and social stressors at airports with the biometric data of the passengers and their self-reported perceptions. The overall aim of this research is to identify key elements to help rethink and redesign airport architecture and experience. Future research can utilize this methodology to facilitate speculations on alternative scenarios for designing not only airport architecture but also other analogous public spaces.

Author Information:

Humbi Song*, Isa He*, Zach Seibold, Allen Sayegh.

* Co-first authors

Read the full paper here!

Responsive Environments: Episodes in Experiential Futures

This course introduces to the students the tools and necessary thinking framework to create technologically driven speculative environments in the near future of the built environment. The course takes a critical approach on technological augmentation that is valid spatially, socially and psychologically. By putting the human experience at the center and forefront, from the immediate body scale to the larger environment encompassing buildings and the urban spaces, the course examines new and emerging models, technologies, and techniques for the design of innovative architectural human interfaces and responsive environments.

Taking a holistic view, the class will address multifaceted aspects of our experience of the built environment and how the rapid pace of technological innovation affects our relationship to our daily lives and spaces around us. The course takes advantage of the resources offered by the ongoing research project at the REAL lab with the Italian City of Bergamo, and aims to build on that research and open up new research and speculative design opportunities. Bergamo – a typical mid-size European city – offers an ideal case study for prototypical interventions that can be possibly replicated in other contexts.

New Article on Technological Forecasting & Social Change

We are excited to share some of the research pursued with our colleagues at the University of Bergamo through a new article on the Journal of Technological Forecasting & Social Change.

Drawing on our REAL Lab-UniBG multiyear collaboration, the paper explores design research strategies for the creation of citizen-centered scenarios of responsive environments and enhanced urban experiences, focusing on the longevity and sustainability of technologically driven design.

The Future of Cities / Brera Design Days 2018

Are we sure that the cities of tomorrow will be smart, sustainable and responsive? Or will they rather be global networks where social processes are determined by induced transnational dynamics?
Stefano Andreani in conversation with Domus director Walter Mariotti addressed these and other questions at “The future of cities: a new urban paradigm” conference at the Feltrinelli Foundation for the Brera Design Days 2018.

More info on Brera Design Days and Domus.


REAL hosts CAFA for Design Workshop

We‘ve enjoyed helping passionate students from CAFA Beijing speculate on the future of technologically enhanced places and experiences. The workshop design concepts will be exhibited at the Central Academy of Fine Arts along with the work by other schools’ international collaborations.



Domus Innovation 2018

We are pleased to introduce Domus Innovation 2018, a Domus special issue jointly edited by Allen Sayegh, Stefano Andreani (Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Walter Mariotti (Domus).
Domus Innovation 2018 is an attempt to collapse technology, design and the human experience into one and brings forward innovation as the fusion of these paradigms. A collaborative effort between Domus and the REAL Lab at Harvard GSD, this special issue goes back to the fundamental basics of design perception, materiality, interaction, craft and adaptation. Addressing innovation from the global scale down to the micro-world as it relates to the human experience, we explore the dynamic and impactful role of design hybrids to foster enhanced relationships between human beings and their surroundings. The issue ultimately presents alternative perspectives to design-driven innovation at the intersection of advanced research and forward-looking practices for positive changes to our present and future world, and to the ways we will inhabit it.
Contributors include: Antoine Picon (Harvard GSD), Sanford Kwinter (Pratt Institute), Martin Bechthold (Harvard GSD), Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard SEAS), Paola Antonelli (MoMA NYC), Sawako Kaijima (Harvard GSD), Aric Chen (M+ Hong King), Jodi Goldstein (Harvard i-Labs).
Featured works by: REAL Lab (Harvard GSD), MaPS Group (Harvard GSD), Wyss Institute, INVIVIA, Harvard Innovation Labs, MIT Media Lab.
Domus Innovation is on newsstands worldwide, along with Domus 1022 – March 2018. Read more on Domusweb.

Responsive Environments: The Future of Shopping

“Responsive Environments” looks into the future of the built environment from a technologically augmented point of view, with a strong focus on what makes technologies stick and sustainable. By taking a holistic view and putting the human being at the center and forefront, the course examines new and emerging models, technologies, and techniques for the design of innovative architectural human interfaces and responsive environments. This year the topic of investigation will be on the question the shopping experience at the intersection of digital and physical realms. The course is part of “REAL Cities / Bergamo 2035,” a multiyear research collaboration between the REAL Lab and the University of Bergamo with the support of Pesenti Foundation.

Read more of the course here.

Take a seat … and the city’s pulse

The Harvard Gazette covered the PULSUS project by INVIVIA+REAL through an interview with professor Allen Sayegh.

“The piece acts essentially as a conch shell for urban activity, or as a stethoscope: a new way to listen in to the city’s activity.”

Read the full interview here and enjoy the following video!

“Responsive Environments: City eMotion” Final Review

Final review of the REAL Lab ‘Responsive Environments’ course. Within the framework of the “REAL Cities | Bergamo 2.035” research program between Harvard GSD and the University of Bergamo (with the support of Fondazione Pesenti), this year the students developed design projects on urban safety and augmented experiences.

DDes 30

DDes 30 event at Harvard GSD organized by prof Martin Bechthold.

GSD design research at its best applied all over the world by innovative leaders.

Responsive Environments: City eMotion

A great start of the semester for the 2017 Responsive Environments class!
The course looks into the future of the built environment from a technologically augmented point of view, with a strong focus on the sustainability and longevity of responsive spaces and artifacts.
With the City of Bergamo as playground for the development of alternative research studies and design solutions, this year the class will pursue research on urban safety — particularly on the perception and experiential aspects of safety in both physical places and digital realms.
This course is part of “REAL Cities / Bergamo 2035,” a joint research program between the REAL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Università degli Studi di Bergamo, with the support of Fondazione Cav. Lav. Carlo Pesenti.


Next Monday July 4th, some of the design concepts developed in the “Responsive Environments: Bergamo eMotion” course last semester will be shared with the City of Bergamo for a discussion on potential further improvements.
The event will be attended by the Mayor of Bergamo, the President of the University of Bergamo, representatives from Fondazione Pesenti as well as relevant stakeholders involved in this conceptual phase.
The event is part of the “REAL Cities | Bergamo 2.035” research initiative between the lab and Università degli Studi di Bergamo



Next Thursday 26th at the University of Perugia, Stefano Andreani will give a lecture on Responsive Cities and will guide a workshop with the UNIPG students for the development of design proposals to rethink Fontivegge ‒ a key area in Perugia that includes the train central station and a controversial square designed by the renowned architect Aldo Rossi.
The outcomes of the workshop will be discussed on Friday 27th with representatives of the Perugia Municipality and the Umbria Region, as well as with the UNIPG President and faculty from Rome and Milan Universities.

locandina fontivegge

Chris Bangel in conversation with Allen Sayegh

Please join us next Tuesday April 5th for a conversation between Chris Bangel, Principal of Chris Bangel Associates and former Chief Designer at BMW, and Allen Sayegh, Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology and Director of the Lab.

The conversation, titled Mobility, Emotion and the Built Environment, is framed within the context of Allen Sayegh and Stefano Andreani’s GSD 2314 Responsive Environments: Bergamo eMotion course, which investigates future urban mobility scenarios and experiences through the lens of human-centered responsive technologies.
The course is part of the “REAL Cities | Bergamo 2035” joint research initiative between the GSD REAL Lab and the University of Bergamo.



On March 3rd at the University of Perugia, Stefano Andreani will give a lecture on the design of urban campuses and will guide a workshop with the UNIPG students on the design of speculative visions for the future evolution of the University urban campus in the historical center of Perugia.



In Responsive Landscapes, Cantrell and Holzman explore the various approaches taken to apply responsive technologies in current landscape-architecture practice. The book is organized into six sections, framing projects through a series of six terms: elucidatecompressdisplaceconnectambient, and modify. The result is a comprehensive view of landscape design projects using responsive technologies and their relationship to landscape and environmental space.

Click here to know more.



Stefano Andreani presented to Italian journalists the 2015-2016 research and teaching activities for the “REAL Cities | Bergamo 2035” initiative.
Hosted by the Italcementi Innovation Lab, the press conference featured speeches also from the Major of Bergamo, the President of the University of Bergamo, the Director of Research and Innovation of Italcementi, and the CEO of Mosaicoon.



“LED has become considerably cheaper in the past 10 years,” said Allen Sayegh, an architect and an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “It’s exciting on one hand, that you can have all these buildings being lit up, but it’s also very problematic because it’s pollution. The Empire State Building and these iconic buildings do a good job, but when everybody else is doing it… it becomes almost this light-junk.”

Read more here.

The Empire State Building is lit in rainbow colors during the celebration of the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RTX1I6OS
The Empire State Building is lit in rainbow colors during the celebration of the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz – RTX1I6OS


How can we capture and map out hidden qualities of the built environment?
How can we measure the ‘unseen’ in alternative ways?
How can we create correlations and find consistencies?
The GSD “Genome of the Built Environment: Measuring the Unseen” will explore new methods for the understanding, augmentation, and evolution of urban contexts through the use of responsive technologies.
For any questions please contact Prof. Allen Sayegh ([email protected]) or Stefano Andreani ([email protected]).

Find out more here.


How are responsive technologies going to affect mobility modes in the city?
How can we design in an environment of rapid technological evolution?
How can we address technological longevity?
How is our experience affected by new disruptive modes of transportation?
If you want to help us answer those pressing questions, consider enrolling in the GSD “Responsive Environments: Bergamo eMotion” course.
The course is part of a joint research initiative with the University of Bergamo, and will ultimately result in the development of design solutions envisioning alternative urban scenarios. It’s the year 2035.
For any questions please reach out to Prof. Allen Sayegh ([email protected]) or Stefano Andreani ([email protected]).

Find out more here.