The key to longevity is flexibility, so why don’t we design homes that way?


We need to ditch our obession with capital costs and focus on how homes can adapt over their lifetimes, says HTA’s Ben Derbyshire

“The product of careful continuity is love… Trust, intimacy, intense use, and time are what made these buildings work so well.”

As Stewart Brand, author of ‘How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built’ observes, we come to love the buildings that last, that work for us over many generations, often serving a variety of uses during their lifetime.

As the climate crisis unfolds, we learn that the embodied carbon locked into existing structures is an investment that we cannot afford to disregard. Research shows that a deep renovation of even the most basic Victorian terrace results in an outcome that will consume less carbon over its useful life than a newly built Passivhaus of the same size, built to the highest contemporary standards.

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