Melissa Bell        2020

Adaptive Living

This project works towards the manifesto of the masterplan of sustaining the island community and providing growth by creating a dense housing scheme in Stromness. The project is designed in a way that the internal floor plans can be altered and changed to adapt to each occupants needs rather than the occupants moving to find a more suitable house. The design challenges the traditional dynamics of a house and explores how internal and external spaces can be utilised efficiently. The ageing population was also a consideration when designing the project. To address this, the floor plan was designed so that it could provide extra rooms for an expanding family, or also be suitable for an elderly resident unable to travel up and down the stairs.


Upon reflection of my project, the scheme itself lacked character as I had created a composition of repetitive units where the quality of the spaces were all the same and lacked individuality. For my thesis I wanted to explore how to introduce individuality into the scheme and give the spaces their own character. I started experimenting with photo collages, drawings, sketches and embroidery studies, doing exercises where I was in control but not in control of the final outcomes. The biggest exploration was the shifting of the original pitched roof which created an interesting new elevation. I then took time to explore these new roof volumes and evaluated how they impacted the spaces within. Through plans, sections, axonometrics, computer models and renders I explored the different possibilities for each of the roof volumes, showing the options, including mezzanine offices, attic bedrooms and cosy snugs which would not have been possible in the original scheme. Overall I definitely feel that developing this scheme has been an interesting process. I think the ability of doing exercises that didn’t have a clear final outcome have been beneficial in freeing up my thinking and allowing me to create these spaces which I feel have now got their own character and quality of space that they were missing before.