The e-journal titled ‘Transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house’ was written by Vladimir Andjelkovic, the University of Belgrade in July 2016 for the dissemination of his doctoral research in architecture. Throughout the reading of this article, it has become clear that the journal focuses on the analysis and formulation of transformation principles to improve the functionality of residential buildings of the contemporary world. 

Journal in Focus: Transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house by Architect Journal -Sheet1
Arhigram, Peter Cook, Plug-in city, (1964); Kisho Kurokawa, Nakagin tower, Japan, (1972); Arhigram, Michael Webb – Suitaloon, Studio Vista, London, (1972).

The physical framework of contemporary residences is ceaselessly affected by the constant changes in social, economic, and technological regards. The author apprehends the transformation principles as tools to make residences adaptive to the users’ changing needs, by revising the traditional concepts and modified approach towards architectural solutions. The befitting of traditional design principles with the new age technological development is shaky, thus challenging the conventional thought pattern of residential building design. 

The transformation process of contemporary homes is the conflation of the inner plan transformation and that of the outer membrane changeover, which is eventually achieved through the transformation of building elements. The journal includes the study of referential examples to derive the transformation model, and also key influences that ought to have an impact on the initial steps of concept development of any residential edifice. 

Transformation Through the Centuries | Contemporary house

Revisiting the pages of history, it is evident that the residential settlements are affected the most during the change of social and cultural face of the society. Dominating the experimental front of architecture, contemporary homes have witnessed the shift in social needs and technological progress. Nomadic lives were dependent on the adaptive attribute of architecture. Adaptive to surroundings, adaptive to new living fashion! 

The journal distinctly states the progressions in the architectural approach towards designing a contemporary residence. Simple and transparent plans in the 18th century, open interiors of the 19th century, and the formulation of Le Corbusier’s ‘five points of modern architecture’ in the 20th century. Development in the design principles that governed the residential architecture along the centuries and explicit examples that portray the diverse design methodology are all penned down by the author. 


Journal in Focus: Transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house by Architect Journal -Sheet2
House 14 and 15, Le Corbusier, Germany (1927) ©

Post-war effects paused the development of experimental architecture. Residential designs aiming for quick and efficient construction were now ruling the architecture world. This led to the shoot of modular systems and prototype concepts for rapid restoration of the cities. Prioritizing resilience and rationality gave way to the implementation of prefabricated construction. The article explores a wide volume of designers and buildings pointing out the several transformation nodes through the journey. 

The ‘capsule’ representation of a residence aimed at the very fast and adaptable contemporary architecture while ‘compact units’ developed by Alberto Rosselli, Marco Zanuso, and others conceptualized innovative one-room living units. The representation of residential buildings through the years served the basis in the articulation of the transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house. Liberal ideas of contemporary residences and concepts originating from the technological upliftment, widespread with the beginning of the 21st century. The rising complex demands of the modernizing users eased the experimental and inventive approach towards contemporary houses. The journal also explores the Japanese take on residential architecture which was contradictory to the western land.


Journal in Focus: Transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house by Architect Journal -Sheet3
Dymaxion House, Buckminster Fuller, USA (1945) ©
Nakagin Tower, Kisho Kurokawa, Japan (1972) ©
Nakagin Tower, Kisho Kurokawa, Japan (1972) ©

Factors Influencing the Transformability Concept

The establishment of the transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house is highly influenced by the social revisions, the discourse of the physical surrounding, and outgrowth on the technological front. The adaptability of contemporary architecture with the changing needs of the context is impressive. Except for the development of concepts by mere study of the physical features of the context is half-way to contextualization, aiming just aesthetics and form. 

The journal states the importance of gaining insights into the complex contextual needs and formulating a comprehensive design concept for contemporary houses. Social and physical are key aspects that influence transformation principles. Economy and technological transformation during the phase of development of the principles are major considerations according to the author. Two different heads describe the transformation of the inner space layout of a contemporary house and the transformation of its outer membrane. 

Inner layout transformation deals with the change in position, shape, or structure of partition elements and furniture elements, while the latter is concerned with the changes in the façade elements and openings of the house. The journal analyses the referential examples of typical transformation experienced by contemporary residential architecture through time, thus inferring the transformation principles for adaptive architectural designs. 

The Markies, Eduard Böhtlingk (1985) ©
The Markies, Eduard Böhtlingk (1985) ©
Wagon Station, Andrea Zittel (2012) ©
Wagon Station, Andrea Zittel (2012) ©
Sliding House, dRMM Architects, UK (2009) ©
Sliding House, dRMM Architects, UK (2009) ©

Transformation Principles | Contemporary house

Formulation of new design tactics and further development in residential architecture will be facilitated by the application of the transformation principles in the architectural design of a contemporary house. Four established principles based on the analytical study and critical observation are- the principle of ‘opening and closing,’ ‘expanding and contracting,’ ‘joining and division,’ and ‘pulling in and drawing out.’ The principles of transformation are closely connected and interdependent. Transformations in the basic building elements and eventual application of these would empower contemporary residential architecture and achieve innovative, adaptive homes.


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