Barriers to implementing adaptable housing: architects' perceptions in Finland and Denmark

Jyrki Tarpio, Satu Huuhka, Inge Vestergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Downloads (Pure)


Adaptability is one key aspect in making housing more sustainable. One major approach to adaptability is internal transformability of buildings, i.e. the possibility to make modifications to the spaces and their equipment within the existing building envelope. This aspect is often taken into consideration in the design and implementation of office buildings. However, in housing the situation is different, and internal transformability is very seldomly implemented in apartment buildings. There is a lack of studies for the reasons for this.

In this article we take a look at the barriers to internal transformability of apartment buildings in two Nordic countries, Finland and Denmark. We compare the situations in both countries, and highlight their similarities and differences. The research is based on interviews of Finnish and Danish architects who have been involved in designing such buildings within the last twenty years.

The interviews show that the disinterest of housing developers has been the main barrier to implementing internal transformability. Another important barrier is the developers’ cost-optimization. Secondary barriers were related to lack of solutions in building services that would support internal transformability. Additionally, secondary barriers were related to common construction techniques, regulations, and building conventions. Major barriers were similar in both countries. However, some differences in the secondary and other barriers between the two countries also exist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1859-1881
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number4
Early online date13 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • design for adaptability
  • internal flexibility
  • transformability
  • multifamily housing
  • apartment buildings
  • obstacles

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers to implementing adaptable housing: architects' perceptions in Finland and Denmark'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this