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Adaptations in traditional courtyard houses in Baghdad, Iraq

Rand H.M. Agha (Department of Architecture, College of Engineering, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq) (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
John M. Kamara (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ISSN: 2398-4708

Article publication date: 14 August 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the adaptations that have been made to traditional courtyard houses (TCHs) in Baghdad, 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/approach

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.

Keywords

Citation

Agha, R.H.M. and Kamara, J.M. (2017), "Adaptations in traditional courtyard houses in Baghdad, Iraq", International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 348-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-03-2017-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited