The Adaptable House, developed by the British Ministry of
Housing and Local Government (MHLG) in 1962, emphasises
the changeability of the plan as a means for providing
flexibility. The design for the development of this
house was based on findings and recommendations published
in the seminal Parker Morris Report in 1961. Parker
Morris stressed the importance of a building’s adaptability
to future needs. Whilst the consideration of the stages
in a family’s life cycle and their expression in space had
already played an important role in the 1930s (i.e. Vroesenlaan
by Van den Broek), it became a central focus again in
the 1960s and 1970s.
The architects at MHLG illustrated this concept with
a diagram that differentiated between seven stages in a
family’s cycle over a period of fifty years starting with marriage,
the arrival of two children within five years, another
child within the next 5 years, the growing up of all children,
their leaving the house gradually, up until the final
stage from year 35 when the couple is on their own again.
Architecturally, this programme is accommodated in
a two storey L-shaped house with kitchen, dining room /
playspace, WC and one additional room on the ground
floor. The additional room is accessible both from the
entrance hall as well as via a door to the living room and
can be used as a hobbies room, bed-sitting or guest room.
The large living rooms on ground floor can be used for different
functions and activities, and subdivided as necessary.
Depending on the number of occupants in the house
a large space to one side of the staircase on the first floor
can be divided into two rooms.