Framework for Design Excellence Design for Change

Adaptability, resilience, and reuse are essential to good design, which seeks to enhance usability, functionality, and value over time.

  • How does the project address future risks and vulnerabilities from social, economic, and environmental change?
  • How is the project designed for adaptation to anticipate future uses or changing markets? How does the project address passive survivability and/or livability?

Focus topics

  • flexibility and adaptability
  • risk and vulnerability assessment
  • resilient design
  • passive survivability and livability
  • best practices

If you can do only one (or a few) thing(s):

  • Have a resilience charrette with your client and stakeholders to discuss the performance goals for the project during a disaster event—continuity of operations, community resource, quick recovery, or temporary relocation.
  • Evaluate how your design addresses the existing and projected social, environmental, and economic hazards and vulnerabilities over the service life of the building and the consequences of not building resilience into your project.
  • Identify how projects can support immediate recovery in the first days and weeks of crisis and facilitate long-term recovery.
  • Explore how your project can benefit the community and existing infrastructure.
  • Identify the flexible or adaptable features of your design.
  • Identify how your project addresses social resilience and inclusive design at both the building and community scales.
  • Identify how your project is integrated and strengthens the community infrastructure and overall community resilience.

Additional information

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published and distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

Image credits

Federal Building and US Courthouse_Kevin Reeves_WElevation

Kevin Reeves

11-finished exterior

John Williams Architects

NOAA-exterior1_rlm edited

Alan Karchmer Photography

3 - Renwick

Kevin Reeves