Environmental and technological flexibility for new housing needs


  • Donatella Radogna Università degli Studi “G. D’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara
  • Gerhard Kalhofer University of Applied Sciences Mainz




housing, changing needs, transformable architecture


Over time, the economic and social conditions determined expansion and contraction processes of the domestic space (from the cave to the castle, from the castle to the studio flat) with important consequences on people’s life quality. This evolution stimulated the development of cultural debates and design experiments on the theme of flexibility. In the contemporary scenario, flexibility has a big value because it represents an important  design  strategy  to  meet  the  needs  of  contemporary  living  in  a  sustainable  dimension.  For  more  than  twenty  years,  the  authors  have  been  linked  by  a  working  relationship  aimed  at  comparing  theoretical  scientific developments and design practice. This paper offers some reflections on the evolution of flexibility concept  in  residential  construction  by  providing  concrete  examples  through  the  reading  of  some  projects.  The variations of flexibility are debated with reference to the people’s needs in the adaptive reuse of buildings. The writing faces the functional mix and the modifiability of interior spaces given by the design of flexible technological units (partitions, systems, furnishings) and mobile additions as well as the adaptability of the closures with respect to climatic and seasonal conditions. The theme of flexibility, too often “oversized” and not investigated in terms of feasibility, is presented in a possible and useful scale.  Flexibility is also faced as a new way for showing the link between utility and beauty of the spaces.


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Author Biographies

Donatella Radogna, Università degli Studi “G. D’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara

Department of Architecture

Gerhard Kalhofer, University of Applied Sciences Mainz



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How to Cite

Radogna, D. and Kalhofer, G. (2022) “Environmental and technological flexibility for new housing needs”, VITRUVIO - International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, 7(1), pp. 30–45. doi: 10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2022.17461.