Improving the design of adaptable buildings though effective feedback in use

For many years the issue of how to design buildings which can adapt to changing demands has posed a considerable challenge. This debate has had renewed significance given the emergence of the sustainability agenda and the need to extract additional value from built assets through life. Developing a better understanding of how buildings change over time is arguably crucial to informing architects concerned with extending the life of buildings. This paper critically reviews literature on adaptability, together with that relating to knowledge feedback and architectural practice, in order to construct a theoretical platform for understanding how knowledge of how buildings change can be used to inform design decisions. A pilot case study is used to illustrate the ways in which buildings change could be captured to inform adaptable designs in the future. The work reveals a lack of knowledge in how buildings change and how, if this was fed back to architects, it could support design decisions that might increase the life of many buildings.