An Approach to Adaptability

Buro Happold’s (BH) proposal for an adaptable primary school focuses on developing a design approach that is centered on understanding user behaviours and stakeholder values through a variety of methods including values surveys, precedent visits, workshops and ‘day-in-the-life’ scenarios.  It brings to the foreground environmental (climate change adaptation) change as a critical type of scenario to plan for by identifying critical climate parameters (e.g. hotter, drier summers), their physical consequences and a plan of action for each which are correlated with Brand’s building layers.   The adaptable strategies and solutions are structured based on Brand’s layers and present options for each layer based on a matrix analysis looking at such variables as constructability, cost, embodied energy, and adaptability.   General ‘rules’ for each use scenario (school, retail, office, residential) are explored and compared in a matrix including room area, room height, minimum and maximum plan depth, glass area and more. Change scenarios are explored and presented in two forms:  minor and major retrofit with two scales – single use or shared use (transition levels).   The feasibility of a range of changes are then explored (transition opportunities) for the different transition levels.   The BH approach is a holistric and iterative process that starts early on with briefing and carries through to the handover, use and subsequent use stages through a variety of tools and protocols.


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