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Adaptations in Traditional Courtyard Houses in Baghdad, Iraq

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Kamara



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Purpose This paper investigates the adaptations that have been made to traditional courtyard houses (TCH) in Bagdad, Iraq. The aim is to develop an understanding of various factors in the adaptation of these buildings to suit contemporary lifestyles, which will contribute to the wider field of building adaptability.Design/methodology Empirical evidence was collected through case studies of 12 TCHs in the Al-Kadhimiya area of Baghdad, which involved a physical survey of buildings and semi-structured interviews with 24 occupants. Findings Case study analysis show that building adaptability involves both a change to physical spaces and also to lifestyles; with the latter being more likely when there are limitations in how much change can be made to the physical structure. Research limitations/implications The focus of this research is mainly on users’ adaptation of spaces and therefore does not consider the full range of stakeholders involved in the adaptation process. The findings also only apply to the cases considered and may not be applicable to other house types or locations.Originality/value Studies on building adaptability mostly focus on the ease of change to the building fabric, although the role of users is acknowledged. This study provides insights into the complexity and variety of changes that users can make, which are influenced by lifestyles and driven by the need for comfort. These insights are represented in an adaptation model, which can serve as a basis for further research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Agha R, Kamara JM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

Year: 2017

Volume: 35

Issue: 4

Pages: 348-363

Online publication date: 14/08/2017

Acceptance date: 11/07/2017

Date deposited: 12/07/2017

ISSN (print): 2398-4708

Publisher: Emerald


DOI: 10.1108/IJBPA-03-2017-0013


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