The adaptable futures toolkit is composed of a series of diagrams, tactics and tools for thinking about, designing for and implementing adaptability.
D01: Design Perspectives
Core Concept: Stakeholders tend to think of buildings from a form-based perspective isolating the object in a single moment in time ; our core argument moves architecture towards a time-based perspective.
D02: Integrating Context
Core Concept: The integration of time forces the recognition of architecture’s symbiotic relationship with context. Context is more than the physical characteristics of the building site, integrating physical and social contingencies (left diagram) . The contingencies are in constant flux – shifting influence, role and scale throughout time (right diagram).
D03: Building Layers
Core Concept: Using Brands’ (1994) original diagram as a starting point – buildings are made up of a set of ‘shearing’ layers that change at different rates. The diagram includes a set of surrounding layers that also play a role in how a building and its constituent parts will change over time.
D04: Adaptability Sources
Core Concept: Our knowledge, resources, and constraints towards adaptability come from a variety of sources which can either hinder, enable, or accommodate change. The sources are not realized in isolation, but singly help provide clarity for communication. Their organization relates to their tendency to be bound in time.
Core Concept: The sources (previous diagram) play out at different points in time in the design process. The simple (idealized) process illustration proposes a sequential condition between the seven sources in time. It conveys the idea that both unbuilt and built solutions feedback into the consciousness flow as new design work starts and (re)uses existing knowledge experiences, solutions, etc.
D06: Adaptability Links
Core Concept: Each type of change relates to the physical building in a different way. The tabular diagram proposes theoretical linkages between the strategies and layers along with correlating stakeholder roles and different physical and temporal scales.
D07: Adaptability’s blackbox
Core Concept: Adaptability is typically defined by a limited number of physical characteristics while several other physical and social variables are left outside. The diagram iterates the importance of these dimensions that lie outside are typical associations with adaptability.
D08: Balancing Approaches
Core Concept: The core of our journey has revealed the manifestation of adaptability is a nuanced balancing of human, spatial and physical agency that is determined on a case by case analysis. The relational condition is constructed on the framework of two spectrums encompassing an approach to design: the top on (green to yellow) as a spatial approach and the bottom one (orange to blue) as a component-based approach.
D09: Building Specificity
Core Concept: The specificity for which we understand and design buildings (i.e. the degree to which we associate use and space) can be characterized as five levels – from the most generic (level 01) to the most specific (level 05). The diagram illustrates the tension of a derogatory relationship between being responsibly specific and sensibly indeterministic.
D10: Project Influences
Core Concept: This tripartite conveys three distinct ‘corners’ that constantly influence the project as the building’s generative life reveals, transforms, rescales and stabilizes its influences.
Core Concept: The purpose of the Framecycle is to make explicit the nature of adaptability desired – defining adaptability (center), six design (motivational) strategies (e.g. adjustable, versatile), solutions (black text around the outside) and benefits (two tones of grey around the circle).
D12: Building Lifecycle
Core Concept: Owners are faced with a series of critical decisions throughout the life of the building, the last of three which are highlighted here asks, ‘what to do when the building has reached a level of inefficiency?’ offering four options to consider.
D13: A Building’s Life
Core Concept: The life of a building (top white boxes) is often compartmentalized and disassociated, while the life of its stakeholders are disparate and disaggregated (lower grey boxes). Critical decisions (CDP) take place at different points in the process and lead to a level of ‘desires’ encapsulated in the ‘finished’ built object (maximize, limit, or disregard). This capacity is ‘activated’ through users’ actions – i.e. chosen appropriation (implement, disregard, or innovate).
D14: Design Structure Matrix
Core Concept: Our use of DSM (design structure matrix) is focused on mapping the building’s product architecture which considers the structuring of a product (system composition) and the interactions between (component relationships). DSM is a compact visualisation device in which components of a building are mapped against each other. A mark in a cell indicates that one component is dependent on another. Components can be grouped (rows rearranged) into systems or layers for example and the resulting patterns reveal how tightly bound they are.
D15: Stakeholder Mapping
Core Concept: The spider diagram is an example of one of six maps which explore the outcomes of adaptability (scalable). The oval shaped bubbles represent more generic benefits for the strategy which feed into the seven identified stakeholders (e.g. funder, designer) and more specific reasons/ benefits for each. The red text highlights potential hesitations for the stakeholders while the light grey text signifies no benefit or hesitation was identified.
D16: Layer Costs over Time
Core Concept: Adapting Duffy and Heany’s (1990) graphic which theoretically illustrates how the capital cost of components (grouped as three building layers) over the life of a building can be misconstrued by simply considering the initial (first generation) capital costs opposed to their reoccurring costs over time. The reality portrayed is that shorter cycle components have cheaper one-off costs, however given their short lifespan create more reoccurring costs accumulated over the life of a building.
D17: Uncertainty Paradox
Core Concept: The diagram illustrates a paradox of uncertainty. The blue cone illustrates the many design ideas initially, but through the design process one has to settle on a particular solution. While the red cone suggests there is a defined need (a single scenario) initially, but through time the owner/ occupants needs may shift in a variety of directions creating many possible scenarios. Thus, there is a tension between the blue cone moving towards a certain solution, while the red cone moves towards the uncertainty of many futures.
D18: Virtuous Cycle
Core Concept: The diagram (adapted from Hartenberger, 2008) builds off of his circle of blame diagram (stakeholders don’t act because of the perceived lack of demand between stakeholders, creating a circle of blame). The internal circle here inversely states how stakeholders now act within an archetypal view of the property and construction industry in which adaptability is the norm due to an alignment in the interests of different stakeholder groups.
D19: Future Discounting
Different intentions play a role in a developer’s/ owners wiliness to pay (WTP) for certain features relative to their timescale horizons (including growing costs and uncertainty). The longer the perspective the more interventions and AF strategies the developer may be willing to pay for upfront.
D20: Changes in time
Core Concept: The diagram is an example of change scenarios plotted for a primary school along cyclical timelines (24 hours, 7 days, seasons) and linear time (day 1 to year 100). What changes may occur over the life of the building and how do we design to allow for them to happen?