Adaptable and scalable housing for Australian households and stages of life

  • YEAR
    Kuiri, Lisa Johanna
    Leardini, Paola
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


The housing sector in Australia continues to be dominated by construction methods based on a linear take-make-waste model: an unsustainable approach for using materials on a planet of finite natural resources and increasing population. Demand on materials for new house construction is exacerbated by the fact that contemporary Australian houses are the biggest in the world; making way for these new larger houses in suburbs, old houses are often demolished, reducing materials to rubble in landfill, as they are generally regarded by owners as functionally obsolete and are not easily adaptable to accommodate their lifestyle needs and aspirations. A transition to a Circular Economy is needed in the design and construction of Australian housing, to keep materials in use for longer by increasing the longevity of a building lifecycle or allowing materials to be used again at the building’s end-of-life. Prefabrication represents an effective pathway to implement circularity in construction allowing adaptable buildings to be designed for assembly of components with reversible connections that could be easily disassembled for spatial reconfiguration on site or reuse in other buildings. This paper discusses the benefits of combining the two key circular design principles of adaptability and disassembly for developing housing types that suit spatial needs of typical Australian households at different stages of their life by the construction process of incremental growth. The study employs qualitative methods including case study analysis of contemporary adaptable, incremental housing projects and traditional vernacular housing built for growth, through the lens of circular design.

Keywords: adaptable housing; scalable housing; Design for Adaptability; incremental housing.


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