Circular building adaptability and its determinants: A literature review

Mohammad B. Hamida*, Tuuli Jylhä, Hilde Remøy, Vincent Gruis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Adaptability is an inherent quality in building circularity, as adaptability can physically facilitate the reversibility of materials in a closed-reversible chain, also called “loops”. Nevertheless, positioning adaptability in circularity-oriented models could overlook some of the contextual considerations that contribute to the utility for the built environment. This paper reconceptualises building adaptability to incorporate circularity, in order to facilitate for the resource loops whilst preserving the long-lasting functionality in buildings. Design/methodology/approach: An integrative literature review on adaptability and circularity of buildings was conducted using systematic search approach. From the initial database of 4631 publications, 104 publications were included for the final analysis. A comparative analysis of definitions and determinants of both concepts was conducted to reconceptualise circular building adaptability. Findings: The findings of the literature study show that incorporating circularity and adaptability is possible through 10 design and operation determinants, namely configuration flexibility, product dismantlability, asset multi-usability, design regularity, functional convertibility, material reversibility, building maintainability, resource recovery, volume scalability, and asset refit-ability. The study concludes that considering the defined determinants in a holistic manner could simultaneously facilitate: building resilience to contextual changes, creation of asset value, and elimination of waste generation. Originality/value: This paper expands the relevant bodies of literature by providing a novel way of perceiving building adaptability, incorporating circularity. The practical value of this paper lies in the discussion of potential strategies that can be proactively or reactively employed to operationalise circular building adaptability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-69
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adaptability
  • Building adaptation
  • Built environment
  • Circular building
  • Circular economy
  • Circularity


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