Last edited 01 Mar 2023

Building adaptation

Building adaptation or building adaptability covers a wide range of situations and the definition is very context specific.

Adaptability is often used as a synonym for flexibility, though the latter usually implies fewer or lighter structural changes and vice versa [1].

The term adaptation can be described as making adjustment to an existing building (that go over and beyond maintenance), its structural or non-structural layout with the purpose of rehabilitation, changes in capacity, function, or performance and eventually extending a building’s life or increasing its value (in an economic but also social, environmental and aesthetical sense).

In literature, the term adaptation has been used to cover changes in use, physical layout, and size. It also includes interventions concerning building components or materials and their reuse. This type of Building adaptation can be roughly divided into building refurbishment (further categorised into retrofitting, renovation, and rehabilitation) and adaptive reuse. [2,3,4].

A further notable use of adaptation with reference to buildings is in terms of climate, both on an individual occupant scale and a more general building, regional or global scale. On an individual occupant scale adaptation may refer to adaptive comfort theory which discusses how human comfort can depend on historical or relevant outdoor conditions as well as an individuals ability to control its immediate environment, suggesting humans can actually adapt to a wide range of thermal conditions.

On a building level adaptation in a similar way can refer to the global and regional impacts of climate change such as increased peak summer temperatures, normally referred more generally as climate adaptation. It can however also lead to wider pressures on the built environment such as increased wind speeds, driving rain, peak rainfalls and flash flooding, further information can be found under Climate adaptation.

[edit] References

  1. Gosling, J., Naim, M., Sassi, P., Iosif, L. & Lark, R. (2008). Flexible buildings for an adaptable and sustainable future. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2008 - Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference. 1. 115-124.
  2. Pinder, A., Schmidt, R., Austin, S., & Gibb, A. (2016). What is meant by adaptability in buildings? Facilities 35(1/2), 2–20.
  3. Shahi, S., Esfahani, M., Bachmann, C., & Haas, C. (2020). A definition framework for building adaptation projects. Sustainable Cities and Society 63(102345).
  4. Plevoets, B. & van Cleempoel, K. (2019). Adaptive reuse of the built heritage: concepts and cases of an emerging discipline.

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