Although change is central to the study of history and familiar as a political slogan, it has not been sufficiently theorized as a set of interventions for the built environment, as a design concept for the innovative re-use of existing buildings. Developing a theory and practice for adaptive reuse is essential for developing sustainable architecture, as it is estimated that re-use requires only half the energy needed for new construction and occupies more than 50% of the US building industry.
The Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher Paul Watzlawick differentiated between first-order and second-order change in his work in the 1970s on making positive social change. If applied to the constructed environment, first-order change can be defined as a set of physical adjustments and interventions within existing structures, while second-order change requires a new way of seeing things that extends out of physical adaptations into our social value system. This paper will consider first order and second order change for developing a theory and practice for adaptive re-use such that acts of transformation, conversion, modification and intervention are tied to the imperative of ecological metamorphosis of how we see and live in our constructed landscape.
|Keywords:||Adaptive Reuse, Change, Existing Building, Design Concept, Ecological, Metamorphosis, Conversion, Transformation, Modification, Theory, Practice|
Assistant Professor, Graduate Program Director, Department of Interior Architecture, Division of Architecture + Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, USA