I am in need of a word to express to change the design or architecture (of a technical system)

Is re-architect an acceptable word or formulation? Or improved the architecture of xyz a better choice? (though not all re-architecture results in an improved architecture)

  • "Re-" is a prefix that may be used with pretty much any verb that expresses an action. "Re-architect" is a fairly common usage (though probably more in the computer industry than in the building industry). – Hot Licks May 12 '16 at 12:30
  • You can use "re-architect" as the verb form, like so "We need to re-architect this system". This process as a whole could be called "re-architecture", like "The re-architecture of this system is liable to take several months". – Max Williams May 12 '16 at 12:30
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    I beg your pardon, you said "(of a technical system)". I assume you mean basically software -related stuff. (You don't, really, use that term for, say, "airplane engineering" or anything else.) Yes, re-architect is the commonplace term. The only similes are "pipeline" or "paradigm". – Fattie May 12 '16 at 13:33
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    a possibly stupid question why not redesign? Seems like a perfectly ordinary word that might fit. Or would that imply a more complex change then you expect to be making? – DRF May 12 '16 at 13:38
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    @DRF in the software development world, there are some subtle (as usual debated) differences between design and architecture – senseiwu May 12 '16 at 13:57

That depends on the scope of the change to the technical system. In software development, for example, if the change is significant enough that the resulting system is different enough from the original, then you are indeed talking about a re-architecture. If, however, the scope of the change is, say, targeted performance improvements, replacing or fixing some faulty subsystems, then you are improving the existing architecture.

Think of the difference between remodeling a house vs rebuilding it.


When speaking of software, you can use "refactor". It specifically means changing the structure of the code without changing the external behaviour; I'm not sure if that's what you want. It's pretty commonly used.

More generally I think re-architect is an acceptable word, as is restructure.

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