Designing for Flexibility: A Win-Win for Resiliency and Rapid Reconfiguration

Updated: Aug 26

The onset of COVID-19 forced an abrupt and unexpected shift from the typical in-person school model to a combination of distanced in-person and remote learning. For many academic institutions, administrations implemented short-term solutions to reduce the transmission of the virus.


For many older buildings, the existing infrastructure and systems were designed for a specific purpose and cannot not be easily modified to accommodate a rapid change in needs. The ability for program spaces to be easily reconfigured to meet the ever-changing needs of academic institutions during normal times and in future crises will become an important topic during the design of new and renovated academic buildings. The flexibility and resiliency of the HVAC and electrical infrastructure will take on an important role in how easily spaces can be reconfigured.


This guide examines considerations allowing the flexibility to quickly reconfigure a space for ever changing needs, socially distant students, higher ventilation rates, improving air quality, isolation of groups, integrated technology, minimizing risk of dieses from stagnant water, etc.