The Adaptive Architecture Framework:

a categorised overview of building adaptations and their causes, methods of adaptations and the effects of adaptation in the built environment

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The purpose of this conceptual framework is to map the field of Adaptive Architecture through a number of key categories. These are represented in the top level nodes of the structure presented here. The framework is designed to serve as a resource to anyone working with Adaptive Architecture for the understanding of this very multidisciplinary field.

Adaptive Architecture

All buildings are adaptable on some level, as buildings can always be adapted 'manually' in some way. The use of the term 'Adaptive Architecture' must be seen in this overall context and the following delineates between adaptable and adaptive: Adaptive Architecture is concerned with buildings that are specifically designed to adapt (to their environment, to their inhabitants, to objects within them) whether this is automatically or through human intervention. This can occur on multiple levels and frequently involves digital technology (sensors, actuators, controllers, communication technologies). In this sense, ‘Adaptive Architecture’ is used here as an umbrella term, incorporating work that has been labelled as flexible, dynamic, responsive, reactive, robotic and interactive architecture, with the aim to bring these together and provide a broad overview.

Some guidance (please check the manual for full instructions)

View: Without logging in, explore concepts, relationships and examples. This will help you get an overview of the field of Adaptive Architecture, make connections between pieces of work and with your own work.

Create: Log in to take a copy of the framework, add and modify nodes and save your own map. Then, share it with others, if you like. This will allow you to influence the path of the field moving forward. Which areas should be included that are currently not, which examples can you add that will help others in their research.

Scope of examples: This framework does not  attempt to be exhaustive in the way it makes use of examples. The aim is not to list all possible examples but to list those which illustrate the particular category well. When appropriate, the same example can appear in multiple categories for this reason.

Branches: Once complete each branch will continue all the way to a concrete example eventually (building, project, literature, etc.).


The work was originally published here: Schnädelbach, H., Adaptive Architecture - A Conceptual Framework, in (Eds.) Geelhaar, J., Eckardt, F., Rudolf, B.,  Zierold, S., Markert, M., proceedings of MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena, Weimar, Germany, 2010, pp. 523-555