Transformable Buildings

Dynamic versus Static
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Nowadays there are many buildings in the Netherlands that are not used for a long period. Buildings are designed to maintain for at least 30 years, but most of these buildings are designed for only one purpose. However, the way we use and need buildings changes in the course of time. As a result we build new buildings and abandon the older buildings that do not satisfy our needs anymore. Today much more abandoned buildings are renovated and transformed, for example an abandoned office can be transformed to an apartment building, however it will always be optimized for its first function. As a consequence compromises have to be made more than wished for.

To avoid all those problems we have to design buildings that can change in time. There are several solutions to do so. In this report I am doing research to the possibilities to design a building that can change its shape, so that voids inside the building can adapt to its needs.

The Result

The result of one semester of research is a cylindrical/polygonal shaped building that can transform its height anytime it is demanded. The change of height is accomplished by rotating the floors on their own axis. As a result the columns between the floors are placed at an angle. The rotation of the structure is controlled by towing cables. These cables keep the structure in place after rotation by absorbing the pulling forces. For each floor there is one cable. All the cables begin at the ground floor and are guided to the upper floors by pulley blocks. On the ground floor is a spindle powered by an engine that can, extend or shorten all the cables. (Spindle is not drawn in the figures)

The building works like a Harbor Crane

Strong steel cables controlling the height of the floors

The Joint

A foldable Facade

To keep you warm and dry


To make a comfortable building the tower must have a façade. Because the building can change its height the façade must be able to change in height too. To accomplish this the façade is foldable. The façade consisted out of rhombus shaped panels.