Vertical housing: an evaluation of the spatial and environmental quality of apartment buildings
Abstract The significant growth in the production of apartment buildings in recent years in Brazil has led to the need to analyse the quality of the residential units and of the housing projects that have been built. Hence, this paper presents the main results of the research study entitled "Vertical housing: an evaluation of the spatial and environmental quality of apartment buildings", which has investigated the quality of multi-family housing projects aimed at the middle-class segment and built in the Brazilian mid-sized cities of Uberlândia, MG, and Ribeirão Preto, SP. This paper discusses the theoretical basis of the research study and its methodology, and presents results that focus on issues related to the functional and environmental quality of housing - derived from the application of Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) tools in four case studies. These results point to the failure of basic parameters of functionality in the designs of the buildings that resulted from the reduction in apartment sizes, an excessive compartmentalization of spaces and an unplanned overlap of uses. The results also indicate an incipient incorporation of sustainability strategies in buildings, in addition to a low level of environmental awareness among their residents. Hence, we conclude that databases based on POE can be used to guide the design process in order to support the improvement of design quality in building production.