Atrium in residential buildings – a design to enhance social interaction in urban areas in Nordic climates

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Publication Details
Author list: Danielski, Itai;Krook, Malin;Weimer, Kerstin
Publisher: Springer
Place: Cham
Publication year: 2018
Book title (if part of a book): Cold Climate HVAC 2018 : Sustainable Buildings in Cold Climates
Start page: 773
End page: 789
Number of pages: 17
ISBN: 978-3-030-00661-7;978-3-030-00662-4


The design concept of conditioned atria receive growing popularity in both commercial and service buildings all over the world, but still not common in the residential sector. This study used a psychological framework to examine if building design with enclosed heated atria in apartment buildings can enhance sense of community and social interactions in Nordic climates. A qualitative study was conducted to understand the perception of residents living in apartment buildings with heated atrium. One of the few examples in Sweden. This was compared to the experience of residents in a “traditional” apartment building without an atrium. The questionnaire was comprised of six parts: (i) socio-demographic aspects; (ii) information about the apartment; (iii) social activities within the building; (iv) social interaction with neighbours; (v) information about principles in life; and (vi) sense of community linked to their homes.

The results showed significant social differences between the residents of the atrium and “traditional” buildings, which could not be explained solely by differences in preferences and principles in life. A large proportion of the social differences between the buildings could be explained by the building design, as the common and semi-private areas within the atrium building provide opportunities to establish social interactions. The residents in the atrium building was found to have greater sense of community and higher frequency of interactions, which are both parts of social sustainability.

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