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

  • Resilient design strategies
  • Risk and vulnerability assessment
  • Passive survivability and livability
  • Flexibility and adaptability 

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

  • ZERO CARBON: Design buildings that are ready for and adaptable to future uses, energy sources, and technologies.
  • RESILIENT: Design for adaptation and flexibility of the building and site by reviewing against climate risks, determining the service life of the building, and projecting opportunities for incremental building performance over time.  
  • RESILIENCE: Design buildings to act as a community resource during disaster events, offering shelter, charging points, communication hubs, warming/cooling centers, and points of distribution.
  • EQUITABLE: Asses how your project can respond to current and future disaster events (natural or man-made) with designs that protect the most vulnerable members of the community and enable rapid recovery.
  • HEALTHY: Address the potential public health risks associated with climate change (and recent intersectionality with COVID), and design to improve community health.

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