A feature of working on multiple housing is that often we don’t get to meet our real clients – the people who live in our buildings.
In 2021 we commenced a long-term survey that we are distributing to the current occupants of buildings we have designed over the last 25 years – through letter box drops, physical mailouts and e-mail with the assistance of strata managers. The results are helping us to understand what people value, use, appreciate and dislike about their homes.
Many of our developer clients get misleading advice from real estate agents and advisers about what is ‘important’ in housing.
When we ask people directly – we are finding contrary results. People do understand cross ventilation and use their windows regularly for temperature control. Split level apartments – universally disliked by agents, turned out to be some of the best performing apartments during Covid for their ability to provide two distinctly separate workspaces.
Some of the most interesting responses we are receiving relate to the factors that matter most to people when choosing an apartment. The most consistent issues raised are good light and air and appreciation of design. We were surprised that factors like price, views and school areas registered a much lower response rate.
We are continuing to build this body of knowledge – to challenge the development industry to listen and respond to end users – to help make our housing relevant and lasting.