A Quantitative Approach for Valuating Architectural Qualities

Ulf Nordwall*, Thomas Olofsson
Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umea University, SE-901 87 Umea, Sweden.

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© Nordwall and Olofsson;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: * Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umea University, SE-901 87 Umea, Sweden. Tel: + 46-733374802; Email:


Architectural qualities is often valuated based on a describable nature with a more personal interpretation, such as living space, size of ground plot, the number of sanitation rooms, or standard points according to the property taxation. Models with values of a more measurable qualitative nature, such monetary parameters,are less used. Within other research areas, for example the environmental and economic field, there are examples of well used qualitative models. One example is the Contingent Valuation (CV) model. It can be used to measure values in terms of willingness to pay on a hypothetic market. In this paper we introduce adirect quantitative approach for evaluating architectural qualities based on the theory of CV. The architectural qualities investigated are: the patina and mellowness of building components, usage flexibility within the apartment, and properties and characteristics of the surroundings.

The method has been applied on a smaller case-study of 150 people living in cooperative and rented flats at alidhem, alidbacken and Ostermalm in Umea, Sweden. The case study was used merely to demonstrate and evaluate the methodology. The study indicated that the introduced three architectural values could be investigated with the used CV approach. It was found that the tenants had a measureable willingness to pay for those qualities. This supports a notion that valuations of architectural qualities are not entirely subjective and dependent on the individuals. Consequently the study supports the proposal to use qualitative measures to grade and compare such qualities.