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Space plan.9


Flexibility is one of the important concepts that everyone
should know as a designer. Today our buildings address only our current
needs and reflect only our current trends and fashion. But, our future needs
and change going affect the building at its later stages also should be taken
in account. The paper focuses on the building and the changes which is
going to occur and the problems faced by it during its lifespan and some
innovative solution through case studies.
Key words: Flexibility, Adaptivity, Futuristic, Innovation.

The main aim of the study is the adaptivity of the
building according to the changing needs and also versatility and long term
thinking in the design process.

About the evolution of flexible concepts in building.

Life span and the layers of changes of various types of building.

Adaptable solutions for the shearing layers of change with suitable
literature studies.

Today, we as a creator of space design each and every
part of the building. According to its need and uses it attains a two
dimensional form. Then it attains three dimensional forms for its aesthetics
and present trends. That is the reflection of the building which appears to
us. But it also takes another dimension which is invisible to our eyes.
What is that fourth dimension?
Yes, that is time. Everything is changing according to
time .And buildings are not an exception to it. Throughout the time change
is the only constant. The major force that drives us towards the changes is,

Rapid increase in our every day needs.

Science and technology development
Changes in our perception of beauty and aesthetics.
To try something that can escape from the shackles of traditions.

but is our buildings adapt to our present and future needs. But they are
redundant and obselant to our changing needs. This is encouraging greater
innovation in the design of new buildings to allow for change of use
throughout the structures lifetime.

What will happen if it is not considered?

We concencentate more on its photo-aesthetics than its
function. This makes us clear about what Steward Brand accuses as
'magazine architecture'.
We estimate the lifespan of the building to be 50-60 years.
But it expires within 10-20 years because of the following,

Inflexible construction
Inflexible wall
Inflexible partions
Inflexible roofs
Inflexible services

Hence some conversion process is required, but that seems

uneconomical which ends up in demolition. They are expensive to build,
and the cost of replacement is high and clearly unnecessary.
Here Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam's term 'long term visionary' it
also suits when we start to design a building. Hence versatility and long
term thinking should also be considered in a design process.
"The philosophy behind the notion of flexibility is the
requirements of a modern life are so complex and changeable that any
attempts on the parts of the designer to anticipate them results in a
building which is unsuited to its function and represents, as it were, a
false consciousness of the society in which he operates."

-Alan Colquhoun
Quoted in Tatjana Schneiders
'Flexible Housing'
"Unlike the architecture of the past, contemporary
architecture must be capable of meeting the changing requirements of
contemporary age".

-Kiyonori Kikutake
Quoted in J.Donat's 'World Architecture'


We can classify building into three types residential,
commercial, institutional .In all these types the scale of changes are differs
relating to its function. For example commercial building changes

kaleidoscopically while institutional buildings are redundant to the changes.

Usually a building is seen a s seven shearing layers.


Site- Eternal, geographical settings.

Structure- Foundation and load bearing element 60-200 years.
Skin- Exterior 30-60 years.
Services-5-30 years
Space plan - interior layout 5-20 years.
Stuff - furniture and belongings 5-15 years.
An adaptive building has to allow the

slippage between the differently paced system of site, structure, skin,

service, space plan and stuff.

Stuff refers to furniture layout and other belongings. The
scale of changes depends on the type of building. For a commercial
building if the tenant for that building changes furniture layout also changes
according to their requirement. And the type of tenant usually changes for
every 1-3 years.
We can find major changes in the commercial building
and office workspace rather than residential and other type building. For a
workspace the scale of changes will be from 6 months-2years because of
the floating rate of users and also for a physcological disorder called sick
building syndrome.
For a residential building the scale of changes will be
greater when compared to other types of building. Incase if the size of the
family increases or if there is a space constrain, an innovative design

approach is needed to fulfill the user needs.


Space plan
refers to the
interior layout
of the building. And the scale of changes will be from 3years to 15 years. It
should be considered in the early design stage itself and carried out in
building level and unit level planning.
Things to be considered while unit level planning,

Raw space
Connection between rooms.
Foldable furniture.
Movable furniture
Divisible rooms
Excess space
Slack space
Expanding within
Joining together
Movable elements
Sliding &folding panels

Mobile wall
The ideal space in architecture as slack space, a space
which "enables a broader range of behavior to be", "is open to changing
use", a space that inherently a broader diversity. This space can be found in
the rooms of Georgian buildings for example where their dimensions have
allowed a multitude of use over time.
It the space of functionalism, a space which is designed to
be the smallest that can fulfill one idealized family unit. Hard space is the
space that surrounds us in contemporary Britain; it is the space of most new
private development where a kitchen is solely a laboratory for cooking in,
where a bedroom barely fit a bed which can only be in one direction.
Slack space, importantly, "does not dismiss out of hand the
need for common ground", what it focuses on is to give flexibility and a
sense of ambiguity on how the space is used; it welcomes a broader range
of inhabitants.
There are two examples of extreme slack space architects
whose work is redefining how we might look at social housing provision.
One, Anne Lacaton & Philippe Vassal is a French practice, the
other, Elemental is Chilean. Despite their radically different context, the
parallels are numerous. Their aim is to provide the maximum possible slack
by building the maximum amount of space.


To do this, they use the budget in a similar way: they use a

minimum level of fittings and finishes and use the most economical
construction systems to produce the maximum amount of space. They often
leave areas unfinished for the inhabitant to complete. They don't provide
the minimum of space as the functionalists do, but the minimum of finishes
and fittings. They also both use prefabricated concrete systems to reduce
Where their technique differs is to how this hyper slack space
is provided.Lacaton Vassal focuses most of their project on the provision of
substantial winter gardens, spaces weather tight but unheated and non
insulated. A perfect example of this is the social housing scheme in
Mulhouse. They are spaces that the inhabitant can use as a garden in the
winter or as a room in spring and summer during the day. The space can be
used in varieties of ways including building extra insulated accommodation
inside. It is also worth noting that even the heated part of the houses or flats
are generous.
Elemental's approach is to provide an external space which
originally is a terrace but that the inhabitants can build in to extend their
home. Usually arranged as a terrace formed of two layers of duplexes. The
differences of approach can be understood in terms of the difference of
climates. Indeed a large terrace in France is not useable for a large part of
the year.
Both architects accept that they don't have control on the future
of their buildings, they actually encourage the inhabitants to take over, they

leave things for them to do, and they let things open. This combination of
the architect as an enabler more than an author and the inhabitant involved
in the design and making of the building (as opposed to a sole consumer) is
a radical re-interpretation of the way we procure buildings.
This result in an architecture which can look rough but
the generosity of the buildings, the quality of life that its inhabitants can
enjoy compared to the alternatives is true luxuries.




Permeable circulation is a type of circulation where there is a
continuous flow in the circulation without any break in circulation. This
type of circulation is mostly used for institutional and also for museum kind
of buildings.
The things to be considered while building level planning,

Horizontal and vertical addition

Communal circulation
Slack space
Functionally neutral space.
Joining up
Dividing up
Shared space
Service core.






The Rietveld
Schroder in Utrecht was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for
Mrs.Truus Schroder Schrader and her three children. She commissioned the
house to be designed preferably without walls. Rietveld worked side by
side with Schroder Schrader to create the house. He sketched the first
possible design for the building; Schroder-Schrader was not pleased. She
envisioned a house that was free from association and could create a

connection between the inside and outside. The house is one of the best
known examples of De Stijl-architecture and arguably the only true De
Stijl building. Mrs. Schroder lived in the house until her death in 1985. The
house was restored by Bertus Mulder and now is a museum OPEN for
visits. It is a listed monument since 1976 and UNESCO World Heritage
Site since 2000.


The Rietveld Schroder House constitutes both inside and outside a radical
break with all architecture before it. The two-story house is situated
in Utrecht, at the end of a terrace, but it makes no attempt to relate to its

neighboring buildings (although it shares an exterior wall with the last

house in the terrace). It faces a motorway built in the 1960s.Inside there is
no static accumulation of rooms, but a dynamic, changeable open zone. The
ground floor can still be termed traditional; ranged around a central
staircase are kitchen and three sit/bedrooms.


The living area upstairs, stated as being an

attic to satisfy the fire regulations of the planning authorities, in fact forms
a large open zone except for a separate toilet and a bathroom. Rietveld

wanted to leave the upper level as it was. Mrs. Schroder, however, felt that
as living space it should be usable in either form, open or subdivided.

This was achieved with a system of sliding and

revolving panels. Mrs. Schroder used these panels to open up the space of
the second floor to allow more of an open area for her and her 3 children,
leaving the option still of closing or separating the rooms when desired.
When entirely partitioned in, the living level comprises three bedrooms,
bathroom and living room. In-between this and the open state is a wide
variety of possible permutations, each providing its own spatial experience.




Le Corbusiers Maisons Loucheur were developed as

one response to the Loi Loucheur, a government program under which a
total of 200,000 dwellings for sale and 60,000 for rent were built within 5
years (a number well below the 1 million dwellings needed). The architect,
who had been working on the idea of the adaptable floor plan since his
Maison Dom-ino project (1914), proposed a small raised building of 46 m2
within which moveable and fold down furniture makes the best use of the
tightly planned area through the course of the day. The doubling of uses
within each area expands the house, according to Le Corbusier calculations,
to give the equivalent of 71 m2.


Le Corbusier had already explored this idea in his

buildings for the Weissenhofsiedlung, which have a central living area that
is one large space during the day and turns into a diversified series of
spaces at night. For the Maisons Loucheur, however, the moveability is
taken to its extreme with complex systems of moveable walls, and folding
and moveable beds allowing multi-usage of the same space.


A thick stone wall provides the backbone for two units, one attached to
either side of the wall. The units themselves were envisaged as entirely
prefabricated: they would leave the factory on the back of a lorry complete
with interior finishes and could be put up within the matter of days. The
house was designed for a family with up to four children: a large room or
dining and other daytime activities, a kitchen that can be shut away by
means of a sliding screen, beds that disappear beneath built-in wardrobe
elements and thereby make space for a work or study table all arranged
around the central freestanding bathroom element. The area under the
building, as in later American examples, can be appropriated by the user for
their own needs, from simple storage to adaptation as a workshop.

Architect Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in

his creation of the Nakagin Capsule Tower in 1972, which was the first
capsule architecture design. The module was created with the intention of
housing traveling businessmen that worked in central Tokyo during the
week. It is a prototype for architecture of sustainability and recyclability, as
each module can be plugged in to the central core and replaced or
exchanged when necessary.


Built in the Ginza area of Tokyo, a total of 140

capsules are stacked and rotated at varying angles around a central core,
standing 14-stories high. The technology developed by Kurokawa allowed
each unit to be installed to the concrete core with only 4 high-tension bolts,
which keeps the units replaceable. Each capsule measures 4 x 2.5 meters,
permitting enough room for one person to live comfortably. The interior
space of each module can be manipulated by connecting the capsule to
other capsules.

All pieces of the pods were manufactured in a factory

in Shiga Prefecture then transported to the site by truck. The pre-assembled
interior features a circular window, built-in bed and bathroom, and is
furnished with a TV, radio and alarm clock. Hoisted by a crane, the capsules
were inserted in the shipping containers by use of a crane, and then fastened
to the concrete core shaft.


This unique take on apartments and high-rises in Tokyo is a

prime example of the Metabolism architecture movement of Kisho, known
for its focus on adaptable, growing and interchangeable building designs.
These ideas first surfaced in 1960 at the World Design Conference.
Hidaka once stated that the Metabolism ideas of the 1960s were very new,
the saw cities as moving and dynamic, that concept are real. Metabolism
wanted to collaborate with engineers; they invited scientists, designers, and
industrial designers. They wanted transcultural collaborations. Its still
relevant because of the dynamic city and trans-cultural aspects.


Another theme of the temporality of the Nakagin

Capsule Tower is grounded in what Kurokawa observed throughout
Japanese history; that Japanese cities built from natural materials had
temporary and unpredictable lifespan. This hasnt withstood the test of
time, and the limits can be seen in the Nakagin Tower. The tower had a
design period of only four months- shorter than usual, and it was rushed.
The designing went on even after construction had already started.
Residents of the tiny pods are now plotting its
demolition; although the capsules were built to be replaceable, the building

has not been maintained in over 33 years which has led to drainage and
damaged water pipes. Architects from around the world are trying to work
together to preserve the towers, considering all ideas and options.

The Adaptable House, developed by the British

Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) in 1962, emphasizes
the changeability of the plan as means for providing flexibility. The design
for the development of this house was based on findings and

recommendations published in the seminal Parker Morris Report in 1961.

Parker Morris stressed the importance of a building's adaptability to future
needs. Whilst the consideration of the stages in a family's life cycle and
their expression in space had already played an important role in the 1930s
(i.e. Vroesenlaan by Van den Broek), it became a central focus again in the
1960s and 1970s.

The architects at MHLG illustrated this concept with

a diagram that differentiated between seven stages in a family's cycle over a
period of fifty years starting with marriage, the arrival of two children
within five years, another child within the next 5 years, the growing up of


all children, their leaving the house gradually up until the final stage from
year 35 when the couple is on their own again.

Architecturally, this program is accommodated in a two

storey L-shaped house with kitchen, dining room / play space WC and one
additional room on the ground floor. The additional room is accessible both
from the entrance hall as well as via a door to the living room and can be

used as a hobbies room, bed sitting or guest room. The large living rooms
on ground floor can be used for different functions and activities, and
subdivided as necessary. Depending on the number of occupants in the
house a large space to one side of the staircase on the first floor can be
divided into two rooms.



Skin refers to the exterior faade of the building. Skin of the
building exists for at least 20-50 years. It plays an important role in the
appeal of the building. for a commercial building trends and fashion
changes for atleast each and every 5-10 years. Hence the faade seems
outdated after 10-15 years. Hence innovative solutions are required to break
the monotony of the faade.
But today the faade design is added with a new parameter i.e. is
the energy performance of the building.

Here are few example case studies with some innovative solutions.

Dynamic building is also known as rotating

skyscrapers. It all started with the desire to see the view around us, of
adjusting our self to the season, to follow the sun, of having a house part of
nature. Dynamic towers to give sense of time, of movement to life, rotating
apartments may give a different sense to our life and create a different
space around us. Above all, these buildings are sustainable, as will be
hereby described.
Dynamic Architecture buildings keep modifying
their shape .As each floor rotates separately, the form of the building
changes constantly; you may not see the same building twice. Dynamic

architecture marks a new era in architecture. This new approach, based on

motion dynamics, is in fact a challenge to traditional architecture that until
now was based on rigid buildings. Buildings should start being part of the
universe and therefore moving dynamic.

Dynamic Architecture buildings will become the

symbol of a new philosophy that will change the look of our cities and the
concept of living. From now on, buildings will have a fourth new
dimension TIME. Building will not be confined to rigid shapes;
construction will have a new approach and flexibility .cities will change
faster than we ever imagined.


This fourth dimension has been the essence of my work

so far. The concept has already generated considerable interest
internationally, from political leaders and city councils. The homes we live
in the way we live are also set to change drastically with this innovative
architecture. Our buildings will no more remain the fossilized imagination
of the architect; they will change, constantly bringing new views and
experiences to us with time; nor can the architects pencil impose an
environment on us. Each building will have its own future and will gain


An office building and exhibition space with a dynamic

facade that changes to outdoor conditions, optimizing internal climate,
while allowing users to personalize their own spaces with user controls.
Office building and showroom for representative functions and product
presentation for a metal company .
Structural work: brick walls; reinforced concrete floors; steel columns filled
with concrete along the facade
Facades: aluminum-glass facade with vorgelagerten Putzstegen respectively
facade of upgraded insulation, plastered in white
Sunscreens: folding elements made of perforated aluminum, electrically



The shell construction of the facade consists of solid brick walls, reinforced
concrete ceilings and floors, and steel encased concrete columns. The
facade consists of aluminums posts and transoms with protruding bridges
for maintenance, with an EIFS-facade in white plaster. The sun screen
operates on electronic shutters of performated aluminum panels.





Even the structural members can be made moveable by using light
weight materials.


London architects dRMM have designed a house

with mobile walls and roof that can be moved to cover and uncover parts of
the dwelling. The house, in Suffolk, England, features a sliding structure
that fits over the static main house, guest annexe and greenhouse. The
mobile element, which is 28 meters long and weighs 50 tons, move along
rails set into the ground. As it moves, the sliding element creates shifting

outdoor living areas between the static elements as well as altering views,
lighting conditions and the sense of enclosure inside the house.

'The Industrial and the Picturesque': A new

house with guest annexe and garage for a rural site in Suffolk, East Anglia a small-holding formerly characterized by bungalow, outbuildings and
caravan arranged casually under a big sky. The stringent local Planning
parameters for rural development were accepted by the architect who shares
with the client a genuine appreciation of vernacular farm buildings. After
studying alternatives it was agreed to manipulate the local timber framed
and clad 'shed' idiom.

The brief was a self-build house to retire to in

order to grow food, entertain and enjoy the East Anglia landscape. The
client was both straightforward and sophisticated. The site offered a
combination of rolling England and agricultural Holland. These parameters
greatly appealed to the international architects interested in systems,
materials and unconventional architecture.

The project was designed to be elaborated on and

built by the client, an enterprising mathematician and motorcyclist. A
client/maker capable of calculating the value of design and of risk. The
outcome is 3 conventional building forms, with unconventional detailing
and radical performance. A 28m linear building of apparent simplicity
follows the requisite maximum 5.8m permitted width, 7.2m height is sliced
into 3 programs; 16m house, 5m garage and 7m annexe. The garage is
pulled off axis to form a courtyard between slices of building. The 3 fixed


buildings are further defined with distinct finishes; red rubber membrane
and glass, red and black stained larch respectively.

The linear composition is carefully sited on a level

ridge which runs north/south along the north eastern boundary of the site.
Thus the choreographed progression from road past annexe and garage, to
house, glasshouse and then on to garden are a logical sequence. The
bedroom/service half of the house is modular timber cassette construction,
the living half a generic curtain wall glazing system. The annexe and garage
are constructed from the modular timber cassette system with Scandinavian
laminated section windows and doors.


The surprise is that these separated forms can be

transformed by the fourth and largest element in the group, the 50 ton
mobile roof and wall enclosure which traverses the site. This is an
autonomous structure; steel, timber, insulation and unstained large spanning
hidden tracks, recessed into a concrete raft on piles. The mobile roof and
walls form an insulating structure that passes over the annexe, house and
glasshouse, creating combinations of enclosure, open-air living and framing
of views according to position.
Each element of the composition is carefully
proportioned in relation to frame, window and wall sizes. All elements were
prefabricated to be assembled on site, except groundwork, internal joinery
fixtures and external surfaces, which were in situ. Movement is powered by

hidden electric motors on 'bogeys' integrated into the wall thickness. Each
of the 4 separate motors has its own pair of DC car batteries which are
charged by mains or PV solar panels.

The railway tracks are recessed into the external terrace

on which the entire composition rests. The 6m gauge 'railway' is further
disguised by stone paving joints and a linear drainage gully. This aligns the
whole composition, obviates any roof gutters, and draws the visitor toward
the garden beyond. The tracks could be extended in the future should the
client wish to build a swimming pool which in turn may need occasional


Sliding House offers radically variable spaces, extent of

shelter, sunlight and insulation. The dynamic change is a physical
phenomenon difficult to describe in words or images. It is about the ability
to vary or connect the overall building composition and character according
to season, weather, or a remote-controlled desire to delight.
Flexible architecture aims to meet the needs of
the present epoch, with its time-specific reality, such as social, cultural,
political, environmental issues. It also attempts to propel architecture into a
more efficient and sustainable cultural product for a dynamic society. I

believe that the increasing demands of dynamic societies ensure that

flexible architecture will continue to hold a solid and significant place in
the scheme of future architecture.

Flexible architecture consists of

building with design-in adaptability and responds to change of
circumstances and needs. The benefits of this form of design can be
extensive. Buildings could remain in use longer. By changing the activities
offered by adaptable design, they could fit their purpose better. Such
buildings could accommodate users experience and intervention, and at the
same time remain relevant to cultural and societal needs. Flexible
architecture promotes employing the latest technical innovations that bring
advantage for the user. By using the latest technologies and reusable
building materials, buildings could be economically and ecologically more
viable. Flexible architecture can be also life- saving, by offering the instant
solution of sheltering in the emergency situations. Concept of flexibility in
architecture is always useful.
Tatjana Schneider and Jerrmy till, Flexible housing, Routledge(August
How building learns:what happens after they are built(1994), Steward
Revolving architecture(2008),Chand Randl