Adaptable Architecture Makes Your Workspace Work For You

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Office environments are ever-evolving in style and practice. What made sense for a workspace 50 years ago doesn't vibe with the open-air and collaborative layouts many companies are utilizing nowadays. And with no reliable crystal balls, it's impossible to predict what workspace designs will be in vogue 10+ years from now.

As our culture strives for a level of sustainability, as well as a control over personalization, adaptable architecture is rapidly gaining popularity as both a cost-efficient and worker-friendly way to future-proof spaces.

Building owners and developers are turning to modular offsite interior construction solutions that are Designed for Disassembly (DfD) to build versatile, flexible interiors. A floor plan's changeability is the key to making their space more attractive to potential business tenants, while expanding the lifespan of their location as a viable working environment.

Let's deconstruct more positive outcomes that happen when you go with adaptable architecture.

What is Adaptable Architecture Anyway?

Adaptable architecture is a term that’s becoming increasingly popular in the interior construction industry. Many folks use the terms “adaptable architecture” and “flexible architecture” interchangeably.

According to a thesis by Siri Hunnes Blakstad at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, "the main reason to engage oneself in the study of adaptability in office buildings is that we have seen the changes that have taken place in offices during the last 100 years, and that we expect these changes to accelerate."

Traditional construction continues to rise in height as well as price. Older buildings are being refurbished to keep up with the changing lifestyle of today’s office worker. Demolishing is happening too. Let’s be real...demolishing a perfectly sturdy building just because it lacks a modern layout just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Adaptable architecture allows a building owner or tenant to essentially redesign a floor plan to meet their workspace requirements. Need more conference rooms? Need private phone booths? Or just need to add power & a TV to a wall?  No problem.

You can install walls and frames easily and move them around at will. You have the power to reconfigure a space, versus starting from scratch. No longer are you stuck with the same tired floorplan until the end of time.

Here's an example of what we mean by flexible floor plans when utilizing a different way to build:

The same square footage of space is reconfigured into multiple layouts very quickly with virtually zero waste.

Adaptable Interiors Are Hyper-Efficient

Just as workspaces have changed over the years, so have the lengths of tenant rentals. With so many companies thriving online, from SaaS providers to digital marketing agencies, the need to stay in a single location tends to be more flexible. In other words, a building floor plan could easily see a high tenant turnover.

According to a study from, 53% of today's office workers value the flexibility to work in different locations, while 47% prefer a community atmosphere to do their work in. Companies are more likely to change locations, and their layout will obviously change too. With adaptable interiors, the layout can come with and be adjusted accordingly in the new space.

Open office spaces encourage and enhance creativity, productivity, collaboration. Companies can help bring out the highest potential in their employees by giving them an adaptable space to work and thrive in. Think, rooms with sliding walls that promote more of a community vibe. An adaptable workspace design makes all of this possible, with immense efficiency.

Flexible Use Architecture is Way More Sustainable

While work environments might feel outdated, there's a lot to be said about the quality of an older building. So, why tear it down to begin some costly new construction project? A smarter strategy is to renovate a pre-existing building and choose flexible use architecture that can custom-fit within the existing building core and shell.

Ever heard of domicology? According to Michigan State University, domicology is the study of the economic, social, and environmental characteristics relating to the life cycle of the built environment.

Domicologists believe in these four pillars. They:

  1. Recognize that manmade structures have a life cycle.

  2. Examine the life cycle continuum of the built environment and plan, design, construct, and deconstruct in order to maximize the reuse of materials and minimize the negative impacts of a structure's end of useful life.

  3. Identify innovative tools, models, policies, practices, and programs that can sustainably address a structural life cycle.

  4. Conduct research on the technical, economic, and policy challenges present in a structure's life cycle and seek to reduce the negative social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with structural abandonment.

Creatively inventing new layouts and workspaces offers a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to workspaces that didn’t exist before. This saves the building the cost and hassle of dealing with the waste that inevitably happens with traditional construction and demolition projects.

Adaptable architecture gives you the opportunity to build from recycled and reclaimed materials. And that, my friend, means you get to save the environment and your budget. Talk about a Win-Win!

Flexible Architecture Delivers Cost Certainty

With spaces focused on sustainability and flexibility in its design, cost certainty for the life of the space is easily measured and set. Decreasing replacement or reconstruction—while drastically reducing waste going to a landfill—means a structure's projected costs are consistent and easy to monitor.

With offsite construction, you save money by limiting hazards and maximizing accessibility. Bonus: you save on the cost of labor when the bulk of your interior build-out is done in a factory setting. The lifespan of your floor plan is easily projected as internal materials are moveable with low risk of damage.

Beyond cost savings, you get a flexible interior that can continuously be modernized and adapted to your needs over time. Ultimately this brings a peace of mind that just isn't possible in conventional construction.

By creating your adaptable architecture project with GRIT, you'll reduce waste and increase cost certainty with materials made from 95% recycled or reused products. Using ICE software in the design process minimizes projection errors, and offsite construction reduces safety hazards.

Focusing on building out a modern, sustainable office as we speak? Sweet. Build your next workspace with GRIT.

Angela Glatz