Where do you live? In a house, apartment or room? Countryside or city? Modern or old building? Housing became so various over the centuries. Starting centuries ago from small houses that fulfill the basic needs to big mansions nowadays. Every individual has different expectations and visions of how their dream house would look like. Some want a new, modern, and ecofriendly spacious home, while others prefer to live in a tiny house or a renovated old farmhouse from relatives. Housing is a very diverse and complex subject since the beginning.
Housing over time
Taking a look back to the 1950s homes were quite simple, build with fiber or concrete. After some years, cars became a common thing, and houses were enhanced with garages and extra storage rooms. In the 70´s many people moved to the countryside using a lot of raw timber, mud, and bricks, while in the 80´s it became popular to live in a two-story house. The demand for apartments started to grow because people wanted to live in the cities. And nowadays, with the challenges of urbanization, people find new ways of living (tiny houses, community living, sustainable houses, etc.). Again, people move to the countryside renovating relatives or ancestor’s old houses.
As there exist a lot of houses, retrofitting plays an important role because the environment changes continuously, and housing has to be adapted to the circumstances.
What does mean retrofitting?
Retrofitting simply means adding something (component, accessory) that has not been there before. In the understanding of housing, an ADU (Accessory dwelling unit) is a retrofit. Other components that can be added, strengthen the structure of a building to make it seism proof and strong for storms, floods, etc. Retrofitting in this direction becomes more and more important because weather conditions are becoming more extreme every year. Therefore, buildings have to be stronger, insulating on a high level, or cooling down high temperatures.
Various engineers and architects try to find solutions of how to build houses seism proof and especially focus on how they can complement existing buildings to have a strong structure.
Adapting architecture and buildings
As the discussion about climate change and the problems about housing are getting more, people try to find new ways of living. Retrofitting is a very important aspect of that. New systems and components are trying to complement houses to be more sustainable, eco-friendly, and stronger. Big cities are having trouble with a high demand for apartments and not enough space, air pollution, and much more. Finding alternative ways of living that can help to solve these problems is a very big task, but needs to be done. It means to understand the needs of society, combining them with the possibilities that exist with extra features that avoid pollution, and dynamic instability. It also includes that houses are adapted to the given environmental circumstances of extreme weather (extremely cold winters, extremely hot summers, enormous amounts of water, etc.). Existing houses have to be retrofitted with components that last and endure extreme conditions, fulfill the requirements of housing, be sustainable, and still make living affordable.