Building Design for Sustainability Master´s Thesis 2021

Rebecka Geber

Adaptive Capability

– lengthen the lifespan of buildings already in the design phase

The aim of this thesis is to investigate approaches to design architecture prepared to easily be changed and transformed in the future to meet new circumstances with simple, cost-effective methods, and as little environmental impact as possible. This will be exemplified by designing a building with a function based on the requirements of the selected site and the local context. The context will be analyzed to predict a potential development in the future where the function of the building is not required anymore. Due to new expected requirements, it will be showcased how the building can be adapted and transformed with as few changes as possible. Following research questions are addressed.

How can buildings be prepared to be adapted
to future possible changes in order to meet new requirements?

How can the initial design prevent unnecessary demolition
and waste of materials?




The design proposal is developed through scenario based design and a possible future scenario is formulated based on careful analyzes of the site, the context and the demands of the inhabitants. The selected site is located within the area Rosendal, an under construction district in Uppsala. The building will be displayed over a period of 30 years, from year 2021 until year 2051, to showcase how the preparations for adaptability applied in the initial design, are utilized later on. The initial building function is a preschool due to the current requirements. Based on predictions of changed age distribution and demands of higher density within the chosen context, two major transformations of the design proposal, where the function is exchanged and the volume is expanded, are displayed with 15 years in between. In the first transformation, the building is converted to host housing for seniors. In the second transformation, a collaboration house is established, hosting both senior housing and a preschool with shared facilities.   

Step 1. Preschool

Step 2. Senior Housing

Step 3. Collaboration House