photo of the plan journal polyvalent adaptation article.

The Plan Journal - Polyvalent Adaptation

Design in a Temporal Context of Uncertain High-Risk Futures

Year:                         2017
Publication:          The Plan Journal
Type:                        Peer Reviewed Journal
Volume:                  Volume 2/2017 – Issue 2 [Resilient Edges]
Presentations:      2018, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Denver Colorado
Recognition:         The Plan Journal Best Paper Award 2017 – Shortlisted

The full paper is available to read online or for download here.


“If greenhouse gas emissions ceased today, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries due to the time scale of climate change. This demands a fundamental shift from solely mitigating impacts to adapting to this new reality. Architects can play a key role but are often restrained by outmoded disciplinary norms, and financial and regulatory limitations.  What we require is a new design paradigm that extends beyond site-specific needs and draws on the context of our high-risk future. “Polyvalent Adaptation” could significantly impact the profession and the future of our communities. This approach combines two concepts that are not new to architecture or to discussions surrounding sustainability and climate change, but, when married, amplify each others’ potential. Combining the temporal concepts of polyvalence and adaptation provides a new lens for tackling the conflict between the permanence of the built environment and the changing climate. From this perspective, projects can be designed and constructed to meet current needs, to provide projective agency capable of assisting in the aftermath of extreme weather, and to become support infrastructures for new settlement patterns.”