The reduction of waste and promotion of user autonomy in architecture through the design and application of adaptable systems

Date
2011-01-01
Authors
Walker, Brian
Major Professor
Advisor
Ulrike Passe
Committee Member
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Altmetrics
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Architecture
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Department
Architecture
Abstract

A degree of success in architecture can be attributed to its ability to meet the needs of users. Traditionally, user and market demands are determined through a process of past experience. Both individual users and encompassing demographics are questioned in order to determine current needs and usages. Through this information, architects program and develop the building to meet current needs, and typically establish permanent and fixed solutions without much adaptability. This inability for architectural adaptation becomes a potential issue when user demands and usage practices shift or change, leaving the building design impractical for users or completely obsolete. At this point, building owners have two choices to meet changing user demands, costly remodeling or demolition/rebuild. Countries such as the Netherlands have had an influx in building demolition as post World War II (WWII) building plans, often small and compartmentalized, were no longer desirable for usage. As a result, designers have been developing adaptable architectural structures and spatial infill to allow for future change in order to decrease waste and continue to meet user demands.

Beyond waste prevention and staying abreast to shifting user demands and usages, an adaptable approach to architecture can directly promote user control over their given space and promote user satisfaction. In order to provide user satisfaction within a design, a designer must allow for adaptability by the user, studies show the more adaptable an environment is, the more the user will be satisfied. This thesis outlines the arguments for adaptable design, benefits that are provided, aspects designers must consider, a potential adaptable design system, and the applications of these adaptable designs in an architectural space and market.

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