Adapting the Ordinary: Discourse and Practice of Architecture
The dominant pursuit of architecture is to build new, better and different, adaptation then, in contemporary
conditions, is a subversive practice. When the identity of the architect is assumed through creative endeavours
towards the ‘pure’ and iconic, the practices of adapting ordinary buildings remains marginal. Given the rate of
urbanisation and climate change concerns the urgency to address the ‘waste’ of buildings through adaptation is
pertinent and exigent. It is then vital to investigate the role of architects and their practices along with the
contemporary discourse that informs their practices.
The research focuses on the ideologies and narratives of adaptation through cases of ordinary buildings, ones that
are not assigned a historic status. A study of narratives delineates external conditions that shape both the projects
and identifies the various values assigned towards the design of the projects. Through understanding the ideologies
of architects towards building adaptation, the prevalent discourse on adaptation can perhaps be clarified. Using
discourse analysis as a method to study narratives and ideologies, the research hopes to study contemporary
attitudes towards the design and practices of adaptation.