Adaptable buildings as multilayered membranes in porous cities : empirical study of two cases in the Netherlands
Reusing existing building structures significantly reduces the need for raw materials, energy, and carbon-intensive processes. Beyond improving the energy efficiency and material ecology of a building, the continuous reuse and repurposing of the city fabric is also beneficial on the urban level as today structural vacancy contributes to the degradation of neighborhoods, and the monofunctional character of buildings decreases social cohesion. Furthermore, adaptive reuse contributes to the orientation within the city and, more generally, as an identity factor of neighborhoods. Buildings are connected to their immediate surroundings through several layers, i.e., the load-bearing structure as the permanent site, its envelope as a physical boundary, and the accesses and circulation as a coupling of users and functional spaces. Understanding both the city and its buildings as porous spaces and arranging building layers meaningfully as membranes organizing mixed use in both time and space can substantially contribute to a more resilient city fabric. Yet current adaptability models in architecture describe the building often as an isolated object and disregard its vital and dynamic interconnection with the urban context. This paper studies the reciprocal effects of converted building structures on their transformed neighborhoods. Based on the interventions in two case studies in Belgium, traced through archive material and interviews with stakeholders, the transforming physical and functional connections of the building and its urban context are modeled. The first part presents qualitative findings of the two case studies, in the second part, findings are systematically contextualized in a larger database of converted buildings. Findings are eventually distilled which contribute to a larger conceptual understanding of the adaptability of buildings.
Source (journal)
AMPS proceedings series
Source (book)
Livable Cities : a Conference on Issues Affecting Life in Cities, 14-16 June, 2023
34 :3 (2024) , p. 111-120
Research group
Project info
Porosity of Building Structures: tracing multilayered changes to converted buildings.
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Creation 28.04.2024
Last edited 30.04.2024
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