The path less travelled: Vertical circulation spaces in apartment buildings in the subtropics

Kennedy, Rosemary (2015) The path less travelled: Vertical circulation spaces in apartment buildings in the subtropics. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Dwelling Form 2015, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Lombok, Indonesia, pp. 107-123.

View at publisher


This paper presents data on residents’ use of common stairways and lifts (vertical circulation spaces) in multi-storey apartment buildings (MSABs) in Brisbane, Australia. Vertical movement is a defining aspect of multi-storey living and the energy consumed by lifts contributes significantly to the energy budget of the typical MSAB. The purpose is to investigate whether a reappraisal of vertical circulation design, through the lens of residents’ requirements, might contribute to energy reductions in this building type. Data was gathered on a theoretical sample of MSAB ranging from five decades old to very recent schemes. 90 residents were surveyed about their day-to-day experiences of circulation and access systems. The results showed that residents mainly chose to use the stairs for convenience and exercise. Building management regimes that limited residents’ access to collective spaces were the main impediment to discretionary stair use. Only two buildings did not have fully enclosed stairwells and these had the highest stair usage, suggesting that stair design, and building governance are two areas that might be worthy of attention. The more that circulation design is focussed on limiting access, the less opportunities there are for personal choice, incidental social interaction and casual surveillance of collective spaces. The more that design of vertical circulation spaces in MSAB meets residents’ needs the less likely they are to be reliant on continuous energy supply for normal functioning.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

63 since deposited on 13 Aug 2015
50 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 86559
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Multi-storey apartment buildings, vertical circulation, subtropical, access and egress, residents satisfaction
ISBN: 978-602-72857-1-2
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 13 Aug 2015 22:57
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 05:18

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page