Resilience, in ecology, is the ability of a system to return to equilibrium conditions after a disturbing external intervention. The resilience of biological systems and their sustainability requires, in the face of even chaotic events, the ability to adapt, last and maintain dynamic stability.
Etymologically, the term “resilient” is derived from the Latin resilire that is “bouncing”, sustainable, agile and antifragile, using the definition of the economist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that is thing that gain from disorder.
Someone proposed a suggestive connection between the original meaning of “resalio”, which also connoted the gesture of going up on the boat upside down by the force of the sea, and the current use in the psychological field: both terms indicate the attitude to go on without giving up, despite difficulties.
The term resilience declined in the architectural field leads us to think about the cognitive flexibility that is strictly necessary for the birth of technological innovations.
Resilient or adaptive design
But how can we resist earthquakes, natural disasters and, in a wider sense, the multiple challenges of our time?
We know we can not take into account all these exceptional events in the design, but we could take our buildings and our cities to react better when subjected to destructive climatic phenomena, later returning more easily to a condition of equilibrium.
In the last decade, the extent of the effects that climate change and air pollution imply in the different territories, requires to rethink the current approach to the design of the city, thanks also to the awareness of the role that buildings play in the current climate crisis.
The new orientation is directed towards resilient or adaptive design. In other words, a resilient or adaptive building must be able to establish a particularly close and interdependent relationship with the environment outside it.
Since the external conditions vary according to the site and time, the building thus characterized should be modified, integrated and adapted accordingly and coherently.