Tim Willey

Adaptive Construction - Experimental Archaeology

Stacks Image 5

Adaptive Construction: A Generic Model
When adaptive construction design was first developed, it was focussed on natural materials, specifically natural materials which one might come across ‘in the field’. Primarily, I researched the historical and archaeological record as well as contemporary practice for evidence of generic actions, in other words: well established and discreet practices which have been applied consistently to natural materials over time. Interestingly, during the research, which took me from the archived manuscripts of The University of Oxford to archaeological sites in the Outer Hebrides, I found that actions consistently fell into three discreet categories and this allowed a taxonomy of actions to be constructed.

The diagram below shows three major natural-material categories alongside their (abridged) set of associated actions:
Stacks Image 12
With this schematic in mind, it follows that a practical action can be applied to its material category and an outcome can be considered for adaption.

However, if we turn our attention to other materials and practices, a taxonomy such as this, might not prove very helpful, for reasons which I hope to explain.

But - and this is key to my proposition - the outcomes of this structure, what I call Emergent Properties, do have far-reaching implications for other practices and it is this, which I hope to draw out in future research for 2021.