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Adaptable Flats



Highly adaptable flats

Innovative solution

Tampere University / L Architects Ltd / A-Kruunu Ltd. / City of Vantaa / HSY

Partners Involved


Building type


Structural material

Structural system

Crosswall construction


Adaptable flats are very seldom built in Finland. The lack of dweller demand is one of the alleged reasons for this situation. However, if dwellers had better knowledge of their benefits, their demand might increase.

This virtual demonstration and the related interview study were arranged to analyse if dwellers see any benefit in systematically transformable flats which have two entrances, a possibility for various room layouts, and which can be divided up into two units (one smaller and one mid-size). Usually such family-sized flats in contemporary production have only one entrance and a minimal layout transformability.


Demonstrated innovation


The systematically transformable flats were designed to adapt with minimal changes to different life situations that can occur in a person’s housing career, such as the birth of one or more children, working from home on a permanent or temporary basis, grown-up children leaving home, taking care of a family member as a family carer, etc. The systematic transformability was provided by, among other things, having two entrances to a flat instead of just one, having a possibility for various room layouts, and having the capacity to be divided into two units (one smaller and one mid-size). In total, circa 20 different layout variations to designed to each flat.


Activities done


This virtual demonstration is based on a spatial concept and building design by L Architects Ltd. The project will be implemented in Verkkosaari area of Helsinki in the near future by the developer A-Kruunu Ltd. The City of Vantaa provided the 3D CAVE facility for the demonstration. Tampere University researchers and L Architects designed the systematically transformable floor plans to be toured virtually in the 3D CAVE by volunteers. Collaprime Ltd implemented the conversion of the BIM models to the 3D CAVE file format. HSY helped to recruit participants. Tampere University arranged the virtual tours of the flats in the 3D CAVE for the recruited volunteers and interviewed them before and after the tour.


Demonstrated results


The virtual demonstration and the interviews of volunteers demonstrated that residents do appreciate this type of adaptable flats. The interviewees saw it as a good option for multigenerational living or adjusting living and working, and often also as a feature which increases the economic value of the flat. Their insights, which are reported in detail in (Tarpio & Huuhka, Residents' views on adaptable housing: A virtual-reality based study, In press), can help housing developers to understand better the needs and valuations of potential homebuyers and -renters. The volunteers were self-selected, so their views may not reflect those of all residents, as they were likely more interested in housing than the average citizen. However, once the adaptability was demonstrated to them, most of them declared a clear will to buy and also reflected on the additional price they might be willing to invest. Thus, emerging market demand by solvent, mostly middle-class customers was demonstrated. This should encourage housing developers to tap into adaptability to achieve a competitive edge over build-as-usual competitors in this market segment. The demonstration focused on the spatial aspects of adaptable flats. However, further research on the effect of building services to the real-life transformability is required. Further research on the potential added economic value by housing economists is also encouraged

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