Reversible architecture: thinking of a sustainable future

09/03/2021

Reversible architecture: thinking of a sustainable future

As everyone knows, sustainability has burst forcefully into our lives as something necessary and increasingly present in every aspect of society. This is clearly the case with architecture and real estate, which for years have been trying to find solutions and technologies for advancing in this direction and creating increasingly intelligent and sustainable buildings.

The vast majority of materials used in construction cannot be used again once a building reaches the end of its life cycle, and annually they account for 34% of all waste produced in Europe. This situation prompts the following question: is a switch to sustainable construction feasible? Fortunately, the answer is yes and it lies in reversible architecture.

What is reversible architecture?

Reversible design allows buildings to be easily deconstructed. Each part can be removed and added without damage to the rest of the structure or its components and materials. This type of architecture lends flexibility to projects in the sense that they can be adapted to the new needs of users or the market, and they are also easy to repair. In short, reversible design projects fulfil the famous three Rs: reduce, recycle and reuse.

How is a reversible building designed?

Dr Elma Durmisevic, a researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, has developed a reversible building design protocol based upon three key points: reversibility of space, which uses the dimensions of the construction to determine the stable element of the building;  reversibility of structure, which establishes a hierarchy for the different components of the building to ensure their functional independence; and reversibility of materials, which allows physical components to be interchanged, once the connections between them have been identified, so that they can be dismantled and repaired.

Can an office be reversible?

This type of design and construction is becoming increasingly visible and there are numerous examples of reversible buildings that can easily be adapted to office design. How? By using reversible materials and furniture to encourage spatial flexibility and allow changes to the structure to adapt it to users’ different needs.

Architecture for the future

Reversible architecture is one of the techniques that can be used to make buildings more sustainable and eco-friendly. Perhaps its greatest strength is the fact that design is based on planning for the future, and it therefore avoids treating materials in a way that prevents their subsequent reuse in other spaces.

Will new models of sustainable architecture and design emerge? Of course, and our blog will keep you informed of the all the latest trends.

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