‘’Flexible Architecture’’ term was made common by the book – ‘Flexible: Architecture that responds to change’ by Robert Kronenburg, according to whom the majority of architecture is static and doesn’t adapt or change over time, which stands in contrast to the natural world that adapts according to its ambiance. Robert’s idea was that architecture might be made as flexible as nature.
The term “Flexibility” is defined because of the unrestricted free range of motion, any feature or a vibe that’s susceptible and lithy to vary. The concept of flexible architecture was proposed in contradiction to ‘tight-fit – functionalism’. Flexible architecture is meant to be movable, multi-purposed, and malleable, it also can be thought to be a modular design on a bigger scale. The main idea of flexible architecture is that the built environment should act because of the living beings, and be able to answer the changes in its surroundings. It proposes a solution to the increasing population by conceptualizing how a built environment can be constructed to adapt. The flexibility of a building and its elements alongside its design can allow it to be used efficiently in spite of the changes within the operational requirements whereas the inflexible buildings might become obsolete. As a whole, design flexibility allows the user to wiggle with time.
Architectural flexibility is feasible in a countless number of ways; it can be in terms of materials and finishes, interiors, exterior façade, partitions, furnishing, structural members, and many more.
Choosing flexible architecture as the topic for the final year thesis can aid not only in being a unique topic but also help to get an impact on the overall society.
So, here are 20 thesis topics based on a flexible architecture that one can take up.
1. Flexible Housing
Housing is the basic need of society and it needs to adapt to the changing environment too. Flexible housing can be one of the finest solutions to the problem of over-population. The buildings got to accommodate the new patterns of tenancy that weren’t a neighborhood at the time of construction. The planning solutions widely range over three levels of flexibility – re-size ability by shifting partitions and walls; re-adjustability by rearranging furniture; and re-interpretability by dynamic area configuration.
2. Adaptable Buildings
Being incredibly flexible, human beings try to adapt and adopt spaces and long for their buildings to be adaptable. Buildings can be transformed by people in their ways. Even the period of use generates a unique essence of place that is necessary for established architecture to exist. These buildings are often identified by open floor plans and typology-free design.
3. Portable Architectural Buildings
Loftcube house by Werner Aisslinger is one of the finest examples of portable architecture, which uses the latest technology and materials along with artistic and experimental approaches. The idea behind Loftcube was to provide a temporal, minimalistic dwelling unit, which can be apt for a particular group of people.
4. Dynamic Buildings
Dynamic Tower proposal by David Fischer best defines this topic of flexible architecture. The continuously changing shape of the building demands the influence of the fourth dimension – ‘time’. It also uses an innovative method of construction, i.e., prefabrication, which will allow 90% of the project to be built in the factory and then delivered to the site hence speeding up the construction process. This project is self-sufficient and ecological too.
5. Floating Architecture
Architectural projects like ‘Floating Home’ deploy the concept of mobility to adapt to environments disturbed by climatic change. The ‘Lilypad – a floating city for climatic refugees’ by Vincent Callebaut, contend with these contemporary requirements. Floating architectural structures can generally float above the water surface having a functional floor height when exposed to high tides or floods.
6. Instant Architecture
The emergency sheltering prototype designed by Obra Architects, ‘Red+Housing’ responds to the demand for fast response in disaster areas. Visual characteristics, economical production, ease of assembly and transportation, room for development and functionality over a long period, are the major considerations for this project.
7. Interactive Architecture
In interactive architecture, the buildings should be responsive to the number of external stimuli, including but not necessarily limited to environment, usage, interaction, or occupation. It deals with buildings having senors, processors, and effectors, embedded as a core a part of their nature and functioning. Interactive architecture comprehends the building automation but it also includes forms of interactive connections and responses that may be put in pure communication purposes as well as in the emotive and artistic realm, thus entering the sector of interactive art.
8. Movable Flexible Building
Movable flexible buildings can be relocated or repositioned, and have the capability of being torn down and reassembled in another location. They have the ability to transform themselves as required, this makes this kind of buildings more flexible to the need of the user. This is more like a combination of portable and modular architecture.
9. Transformable Structures
Characterized by modular designs which are capable of adding or removing units or components, transformable structures also can open and shut , change the shape , or change color. Transformable structures are more of the systems associated with dynamic architecture. It is based on the use of a built-in movement mechanism that allows the building to modify its geometry shape.
10. Flexible Dwelling
Flexibility in a dwelling can be identified by its space efficiency, ability to move, sustainability, and inclusivity. Flexible dwellings can suits the changing need of the users and accommodate new technological advancements as they emerge.
11. Flexible Urban Architecture
Conventional urban plans use conclusive design systems, without the flexibility required to deal with the complexity and change that characterize contemporary urban societies. To conceive urban plans with increased flexibility, a shape grammar-based design methodology should be proposed to provide various design solutions instead of one rigid layout. The plan should be a design system encoding a group of other solutions, instead of one , specific solution.
12. Flexible Hygiene and Public Spaces
Public spaces and hygiene are of sheer importance in this world of the pandemic. Bringing flexibility to the hygiene of public spaces can aid in the betterment of society. It can also help to improve social connections and sustainable development.
13. Flexible Masterplanning
At the earliest master drawing board of large-scale development schemes, flexibility becomes the elemental aspect in ensuring such projects make it to fruition. Major urban development take a few years to style and deliver.
14. Flexible Building Management
Flexibility also can be embedded within individual spaces within buildings. No single-use class requires the occupation of a building for 24 hours and 7 days. Office buildings are often deserted after 7 pm, and many residential buildings are left heavily unoccupied Monday – Friday during the day. This means there’s capacity in many urban spaces for a further occupation.
15. Flexible Industrial Architecture
Transforming an industrial setting into a flexible life or workspace is the need of the hour, with the ever-increasing work pressure a flexible live-work space can aid a solution to this problem. Flexibility in industrial architecture allows wide multipurpose use of the spaces. It helps to retrofit the building’s needs.
16. Flexibility and Sustainability in Architecture
Throughout history, many architects attempted to renovate buildings from static forms to flexible and dynamic forms to get the changing needs of inhabitants. Therefore, attempts were made to design spaces and buildings that can adapt and react positively with the environment, such as noise, daylight, wind, temperature, or humidity. This can be achieved by using flexible and sustainable concepts during the architectural design process.
17. Flexible workspaces
Workspaces will have to function differently and flexibly once the pandemic ends and the routine begins; we need to be careful enough at our respective workspaces as well. Flexible workspace often contains several creative desk layouts, so that they can be easily arranged and rearranged to accommodate changing needs of the offices.
18. Flexible Playspaces
During the pandemic, the playspaces for children are highly affected. Adding flexibility to these areas along with rules and regulations can help children playtime in fields too. Flexible play areas help to provide children with changing play environment that keeps it challenging and stimulating and help children grow in all gross and fine motor skills.
19. Flexible Pedestrian Area
The flexible pedestrian area is an inevitable need of society. Flexibility can help increase the walking area helping to maintain social distance along with providing a better solution for roadside shops. One way by which flexibility in pedestrian areas can be improved is by analyzing the peak and the low time of traffic and then designing the walking spaces according to that.
20. Flexible Restaurants and Steet Eateries
Restaurants and street eateries can even be made flexible. With the ever-increasing demand for fast foods, restaurants need more spaces for people to accommodate, and being flexible can help them get extra space. Flexible furniture and the use of sideways can help the restaurants get extra space.
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