Live in a Fully Adaptable City

Fall 2010/2011 @ TU Delft
MSc 1/2 / AR2TWF010/12
01 September 2010 / 21 January 2011

This is the first MSc studio, in which we explore the possibilities of a fully adaptable built environment. The studio combines logical and practical exploration and creates a speculative visual narrative, presented as an animated cartoon.

Project background
The Transformer project addresses three crucial topics of spatial planning spatial efficiency, flexibility and individuality. Today, more than half of the world’s population is living in cities and the trend of urbanization continues. From the perspective of sustainable living, a high density of cities is favourable as it enables an effective use of resources. When living in cities with higher density, an effective use of space is a mayor challenge for spatial design. Yet a lot of the space of a contemporary urban building is not efficiently used over the course of the day.

Flexibility is a key element in the commercial design of working spaces. Many companies change their size and organization very often and their office spaces have to allow for quick adaptation. The flexibility is often solved through generic spaces. Regular grids for structure, windows and installations, lowered ceilings, raised floor’s, movable wall systems and flexible office space(use) are the common results of the desire for flexibility that shape today’s office. But these flexible spaces often represent a mere compromise, an average that can largely deviate from the ideal.

The sector of private dwelling we see an opposite obsession, that of individuality and customization. Today’s kitchens can be configures like cars, offering a selection of colour, power and equipment and created the profession the kitchen planner. Cupboards can be fitted with all kind of special storage systems. Sofas can be assembled and upholstered according to your preferences. Even whole houses can be customized and ordered within the principles of mass production. But if you want to change the choices you made, it usually means buying a new product and discarding the old.

What would happen, if the efficiency, flexibility and individuality would include walls, ceilings and floors, the rigid and unchangeable elements of today’s architecture? What if the distribution of an apartment into rooms of a fixed size could be overcome? What if we can change our dwelling according to our needs and obsessions in real-time, within minutes? How much more efficient can we design our cities then and how much more freedom can we offer its inhabitants?

Studio assignment
The Transformer studio explores the possibilities and challenges of a highly flexible building. It based on a hypothetical structural element, which can stretch, shrink and bend and thus allows walls, ceilings floors and the volume inside to change. It looks into the consequences of such a structure on various scales.

The results are shown in an animation, an edited movie that shows living and working in the Transformer building, starting with the details of the structure, the daily routines of the inhabitants, the interactions within the building and eventually the organic changes of an urban Transformer block.

The students work in groups, each exploring the Transformer on a specific scale: adaptable surface, living unit, transformable building, urban block and endless city. Throughout the studio, the students switch between exploring practical implications and producing a visual and visionary narrative.


Prof. Winy Maas, Ulf Hackauf, Jeronimo Mejia


Huihua Chen, Tomas de Loo, Igor de Vetyemy, Alice Guarisco, Maria Laisi, EunYu Lee, Alberto Minero, Lino Moser, Virginia Scapinelli, Stefanie Winter, Julia Ting Yan Mok

Guest Critics

Gerhard Bruyns, Stefan Dulman, Pirjo Haikola, Andrei Prutean


Stefan Dulman, Andrei Prutean